BAKER — Seventeen positions already have been eliminated from the Baker School System, and 10 more will be eradicated this week in a belt-tightening plan for the district, Superintendent Herman Brister said after the board meeting Tuesday night.
Some of the positions were already vacant and others were layoffs, but Brister could not confirm how many teachers and staff have received or will receive pink slips.
The board Tuesday night unanimously approved furloughs of up to 10 days for administrative staff. Only principals, assistant principals and staff will be affected, not teachers, Brister said.
Some staff members simply will work fewer days when school is not in session, he said.
Two employees in the district office also have been reassigned, effectively receiving pay reductions, and more such reassignments are possible, he said.
The reductions, including the furloughs, will save the district $1.7 million. Further staff reductions might be made in the future, Brister said.
Not many people have complained about the layoffs so far, he said.
“I think there is a level of understanding and trust that we are going to do this thing as fairly and equitably as we can. … People recognize that the decisions we are making are prudent for the school system. None of these decisions are taken lightly,” he said.
Brister said his goal is to go into the 2015-16 school year with a balanced budget. He will present the completed budget to the board at the Aug. 18 meeting.
In reorganizing the school district, Brister also has focused on improving Bakerfield Elementary, which received a grade of F in the past four years and narrowly escaped being taken over by the state at the end of the 2014-15 school year. In June, Brister appointed Baker Middle Assistant Principal Candace Jenkins to head Bakerfield and put her in charge of interviewing and hiring teachers and staff for the school.
“Ninety percent of the faculty and staff (at Bakerfield) will be different this year,” Brister said.
On July 7, the School Board voted to approve Brister’s new reconstitution plan, which replaces the plan devised by former Superintendent Ulysses Joseph near the end of the 2014-15 school year. The new plan can be found on the school district’s website, bakerschools.org.
The plan calls for adding staff, including an assistant principal, literacy coach and numeracy coach, professional development for teachers and progress monitoring, as well as other changes.
Bakerfield will have a campus beautification event from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 23-25. Volunteers are needed to paint, landscape and clean up the school.