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14 CUSD workers now jobless
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The Ceres School Board voted unanimously Thursday night to send preliminary layoff notices to 14 employees as part of a plan to help offset an estimated $4.2 million budget shortfall for the 2009-10 fiscal year.

"It was very tough," said board trustee and retired teacher Betty Davis, who spent the final 22 years of her career teaching kindergarten at Walter White and Virginia Parks elementary schools. "We didn't do it easily. It was a last resort to preserve the programs we have for our students. We tried to use as much flexibility as we could."

Added board member Teresa Guerrero: "This has been really hard for everybody."

The Ceres School Board approved layoff resolutions for 10 certificated and four classified employees with 7-0 votes.

Among the certificated employees who will be given pink slips are nine teachers and one school nurse.

Classified staff cutbacks include two paraprofessionals and two speech and language pathologist assistants.

The potential cuts, which don't have to be finalized until May 15, could be rescinded according to CUSD Deputy Superintendent Scott Siegel.

"They could come back through attrition," he said. "That's a possibility. We will be talking to them about that."

None of the employees that will be receiving layoff notices spoke during the public comment portion of Thursday's board meeting.

Ceres Unified had a two-hour study session beforehand with trustees and union leaders.

"This is not an easy decision for anybody," CUSD Supt. Walt Hanline said. "We did everything we could to minimize the number of people that got hurt. We achieved that objective."