Hart board to discuss potential layoffs, returning to the classroom

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During a special meeting Wednesday morning, William S. Hart Union High School District governing board members will discuss potential staff layoffs and how the beginning of the school year is going to look.

“Tomorrow morning will be more of an open discussion about where we are and what we need to do,” board President Linda Storli said Tuesday. “We are going to talk about, after we see who’s retiring, how can we make this budget work and lay off as few people as possible.”

The district has said that the reason for the potential layoffs is the current financial crisis facing the state of California due to COVID-19. The district has identified 22 classified positions that would be eliminated in a “reduction in force.”

The jobs listed for the RIF include a carpenter, a contract specialist, an electrician, groundskeepers, campus supervisors, custodians and maintenance workers, office assistants, an office manager, a plumber, a secretary and a warehouse worker.

The RIF notices, if approved by the board, would become effective Aug. 31. The board has not yet announced any plans for issuing RIF notices to teachers, Storli said.

In addition to discussing the potential layoffs, the board will be examining how the coming school year will look starting in the fall. According to Storli, the district has three possibilities planned out: reopening all campuses and holding a traditional school year, keeping the campuses closed and doing 100% distance learning, or a blended model of the first two options.

The district’s plan will be designed to do the following, according to the meeting agenda:

Comply with L.A. County health order requirements as a means to keep students, staff and families safe, and to minimize the transmission of the COVID-19 virus.
Provide options for parents (either online or blended models of instruction).
Bring students back to campus as quickly as it is deemed safe to do so.

“We understand that we need to find a way to have them be together, safe, at least some of the time,” Storli said, adding that the district would be also looking not only at the classroom but also sports and extracurriculars.

The virtual special meeting is set to begin at 8 a.m. and will be viewable at https://youtu.be/hsNO1pyi8hE.

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