In an effort to protect certified staff from layoffs this July, Pleasanton Unified School District (PUSD) will consider the option of furlough days.

There are 14 certified staff who face a potential layoff caused by depressed state revenue resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

District administrators at a June 18 special study session reported one option includes negotiating with teachers, classified staff and administrators to agree to accept three furlough days during the coming school year. The furlough days would occur for all employees when school offices and classrooms were closed, district’s spokesman Patrick Gannon reported.

However, teachers argued this option would result in a pay reduction for all. Board Vice President Jaime Yee noted the suggestion was met with a flood of emails from those concerned the furlough days would result in a 1.6% pay reduction per staff. This point of view was is also seen in the public comments at the virtual meeting.

At the meeting, Michelle VerKuilen, Association of Pleasanton Teachers president stated that furlough “days are not aligned with the message of the state. Furlough days do not put students first.”

Sam Weaver, a 13-year social studies teacher at Amador High School, said he opposed furlough days on behalf of his students and his two children, who are in Pleasanton schools. Maria White, a science teacher at Amador, asked when teachers will be able to work on report cards and conferences.

But the district officials emphasize accepting the furlough would be up to teachers, administrators and classified employees to accept or decline as part of their negotiated contracts.

There is some flexibility in the furlough approach. For example, if a furlough day were established in October, a second furlough set for December might be canceled, based on the availability of federal money, said Gannon.

Otherwise, there may have to be summer layoffs; PUSD would lose those staff to neighboring districts.

The district continues to explore options on its path to bring a $12 million debt to $11 million. Once confirmed, it will submit those options to the Alameda County Office of Education.

One option involved selling district property, such as a Neal School site or the upper place fields next to school headquarters on Bernal Avenue. But as far as trustee Valerie Arkin is concerned, that won’t work. The district stenographer pointed out the need for building north side schools in the future. The potential sale money should be kept for future construction needs, said Arkin.

The PUSD will have another virtual meeting Thursday, June 25, at 5 p.m., to further discuss the budget.