Fewer teacher layoffs expected in Sonoma County

More than 11 full-time teaching positions across Sonoma County are expected to be cut before the 2014-15 school year as school districts adjust to budget demands, enrollment projections and an entirely new formula that the state is using to fund schools.

School districts in Sonoma County have until Thursday to either rescind or make official layoff warnings for 26 full-time teaching positions issued in March. The notices only affect permanent and probationary teachers and do not include temporary teachers who are notified each year that their spots in the classroom are not guaranteed.

The numbers of layoffs this year is a fraction of what it has been in recent years.

Last year, 17 positions were cut by the May 15 deadline. Hundreds of positions were noticed in 2009, with scores of those made final by the May state deadline that year.

But a rebounding state budget, voter-approved Proposition 30 and a new formula for how schools are funded have all buoyed local school budgets that had for years been subjected to severe cuts.

In Guerneville School District, Superintendent Elaine Carlson said a series of workshops and public board meetings will continue into the summer to determine if that district's 2.15 full-time job cuts can be brought back before the school year starts.

"We are going to do a board workshop June 5 and we'll have the whole budget laid out," Carlson said.

The finalized Local Control Funding Formula — the new rules by which districts are now required to receive and spend funding — demands a greater level of parent and community input, a change that Carlson said is welcomed.

"To validate their voice has been great," she said.

And the new formula means a bit more money for most of Sonoma County's 40 school districts.

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