DALLAS -- Further spending reductions for the Dallas School District may be decided after a dialogue between the school board and employee groups representing both teaching and non-teaching staff members.
District officials have indicated the school year may be shortened by five to 10 days. That action may depend on the Jan. 28 special election regarding a state income tax surcharge. If voters approve the temporary tax increase, the school year is expected to remain as scheduled.
The board agreed to a 90-day bargaining period following an Oct. 10 executive session. That meeting followed receipt of formal letters seeking to bargain over the possibility of a reduced school year.
The letters were from Dallas Education Association, representing certified teaching staff, and Oregon School Employees Association, representing classified employees of the District.
The bargaining period runs through Jan. 7. An Oct. 15 letter from Superintendent Dave Novotney to DEA President Casey Wallace "affirmed their (the school board's) right to shorten the school year as outlined" in the agreement between the district and the union.
The board "recognized that it would be in the best interest of the district and the association to discuss this more thoroughly."
The teachers' group has requested a number of materials from the district as it plans to audit the district's financial situation. Union leaders seek ways to reduce expenses without affecting its members' compensation.
The contract indicates that if schools are closed due to a lack of funds that no member of the bargaining unit receives salary or fringe benefits during the closure.
If no agreement is reached by Jan. 7, the board may implement its "last best offer."