Although San Benito High School Superintendent Stan Rose is looking at the bright side of the start to classes Monday, the teachers union president expressed disappointment in the turnover rate among educators and blamed it on the district’s issuance of 16 pink slips in the spring.

With San Benito High School set to begin the 2012-13 year Monday, the campus will include 18 new teachers. Particularly concerning to union President Mitch Huerta is that the figure includes nine new teachers in the math department alone.

Huerta pointed out that math is an area where the school struggles.

“I don’t think we’ve ever seen a department lose nine teachers,” said Huerta, who is in the social sciences department.

Rose, though, downplayed the turnover and said it fits more in line with the number of new teachers San Benito would usually experience – before the past few years when teaching jobs were harder to find.

“All were due to pretty much attrition-type activities,” Rose said.

The campus will start the new school year with those many new faces leading classrooms. With overall teacher numbers around the same as last year, the enrollment as of this week was estimated at about 2,940, Rose said. That is about 30 more students than last year at this time and should result in classroom sizes in the mid- to upper-30s, he said.

“They tend to be larger right now because we still have to sift through no shows or new enrollees,” he said.

While enrollment and teacher staffing may be relatively flat, there will be two noticeable changes to start the year. Longtime librarian Doug Achterman has left for Gavilan College, while the Baler Preschool will maintain different hours. As for the librarian vacancy, it is among the positions under consideration should state voters approve Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax hike proposal on the November ballot.

The school will see “rather serious reductions in the budget if the taxes do not pass,” Rose said. San Benito High School projects a deficit of more than $2 million without the extension.

While Rose said a healthy district reserve allowed the school to fill its open teacher positions – about $375,000 in stimulus funding expired after last school year – Huerta with the teachers union contended SBHS should use more of its reserves, estimated at $8.8 million, toward personnel. He said the district maintains the money in a restricted fund, but that the school board has the power to transfer it to the general fund, which pays for teacher salaries and benefits.

“They want to wait for a rainy day,” Huerta said of the reserve. “Many people have said it’s raining outside.”

Huerta is frustrated about the lack of a librarian and career center help.

“We have none of these people to help our kids with the application process,” he said.

Having so many new teachers, he believes, was caused by sending out so many pink slips in the spring. He said just one or two of those teachers who received them is returning.

Inflated classroom sizes are a result of the state’s unwillingness to put enough money into education, he said.

“When you look at the big picture, the State of California is not funding public education like it used to,” he said.

Previous articleFootball: Anzar prepares for year two
Next articleHandler’s layoff leads to retirement for K-9 Deputy Dix


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here