Unpopular decision by Yosemite Unified trustees to save district results in layoffs

Wednesday, March 07, 2018 08:10PM
In an effort to slash deficit spending and get Yosemite Unified operating in the black again.

OAKHURST, Calif. - In an effort to slash deficit spending and get Yosemite Unified operating in the black again. School board trustees voted this week to cut 17 positions for the upcoming school year, saving the district $1.1 million.

"The root of this is ultimately the community was not holding the school district and the school board accountable," said Community Action Team Anita Johnson.

Five elementary school teachers and two Yosemite High PE positions are among the jobs being eliminated.

Johnson agrees the cuts were necessary but says the district's financial crunch could have been avoided.

A just-released report from the fiscal crisis and management assistance team shows the district spent $2.3 million over budget last year.

"If you ask administrators at the high school its business as usual. They are doing their best to make it sound like everything is great but there are neighboring schools that are welcoming our students," said Johnson.

Interim Superintendent Fred Cogan who declined to speak to us on camera says despite the layoffs no programs will be cut district-wide.

Parents like Blanca Olmedo have concerns. She has two boys in the Badger football program but they now find themselves without a head coach following this week's vote.

"My kids have been in the football program from the youth program now to high school for so many years and these are kids growing together and seeing this coach and my son is saying three of his friends are relocating," said Olmedo.

The district told Action News Yosemite high football will move forward with a new head coach.

This could just be the beginning of district cuts. Trustees are expected to decide the fate of non-teaching positions like bus drivers and custodians in the coming weeks.

"This is only for the 2018 to 2019 school year. We have the 2019 to 2020 school year that will have an additional million or $2 million in cuts," said Johnson.

The next school board meeting is set for this coming Monday.
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