By JENNIKA INGRAM | Reporter
The Palisades Charter High School Board of Trustees voted at a special meeting on June 3 to reduce hours and layoff certain classified positions due to the impacts of remote learning and the potential for it to continue into the fall 2020-21 semester.
“The board has determined in evaluating anticipated income and expenditures and budget priorities for the 2020-2021 school year that there is a need to eliminate, and/or reduce certain classified positions,” according to a statement, “and based on such an elimination or reduction of services, classified employees will be subject to layoffs for lack of work or lack of funds within the meaning of the Education code section 45308.”
Classified positions are those at the school that do not require teaching certificates.
Pali High Human Resources Director Amy Nguyen explained that at some point, all employees will be impacted by the possibility of remote learning for the fall semester and uncertainty related to “significant budget reduction” by state and federal funding sources.
“Unfortunately, at this time, we do not know the status of the fall semester or whether PCHS will be in an e-Learning remote mode or if all of our students will be on campus for the fall,” Nguyen continued. “The school must prepare for either scenario.”
Director of Academic Achievement Monica Iannessa pointed out that the board is trying to prepare for something they don’t know is going to happen, adding complexity to the decision.
Based on the PESPU union requiring a 60-day notice for employees, the layoffs and reduction of hours would go into effect the first week of August. Those affected were slated to be notified the day after the meeting.
“The reason we have to do this so early when we don’t have the answers yet is they have a 60-day notice in their contract,” Nguyen explained.
The concern is if the school waits until August or later to give out notices, there’s the potential for these classified positions to be on the payroll in October and November—even if students are not on campus or using a non-traditional schedule.
Ideally the layoffs will be rescinded if Pali students are back on campus in the upcoming semester and the positions can be fully utilized.
“At any time during that 60 days we can rescind it, and we can offer them their jobs back and they would be first in line to get their job back,” Nguyen added.
Nguyen explained the resolution focuses specifically on each position itself, regardless of who is working in that position at the moment, so specific employees were not named or discussed at the board meeting, nor was their history at Pali.
Nguyen explained each employee notified will get their own meeting and walk-through at a later date. The Board shared that the school would look into working with the affected employees to try to find them other positions within the school when possible.
Classified positions being eliminated listed in the resolution are IT Tech III, Library Media Technician, Copy Clerk, Office Assistant and Tutoring Center Coordinator.
Positions that will face a reduction of hours are ASB Accounting Clerk, Campus Safety Assistant, Senior Office Assistant and Office Assistant.
The motion passed with several board members abstaining or against.
With new regulations in the works for Payroll Protection Program loans, it is yet to be determined if this decision will affect the forgivability of Pali High’s $4.6 million loan.
“Pali High is waiting for the final regulations and will see how they apply to our organization,” Greg Wood told the Palisadian-Post.
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