Contracts for new assistant superintendents plus a couple of teacher layoffs were approved at the recent Yucaipa-Calimesa Joint Unified School District board meeting.

The contract for Ernesto Calles as the new Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources, taking over for Sherri Black who is retiring at the end of the school year, was approved at the April 23 board meeting.

Also approved were contracts for Eric Vreeman, who moved from Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services to Assistant Superintendent of Business Services, replacing George Velarde who left in December, and Jaime Anderson, director of secondary curriculum in the district who steps into the position of Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services. All three approvals were unanimous.

“I look forward to working in Yucaipa,” said Calles, who comes from the Colton Joint Unified School District where he serves as director of Human Resources.

“I think Ernesto is going to bring a lot with him and his own experience,” Superintendent Cali Binks said. “He has a large personality and he is open to laughing and joking with people and making connections and he can’t wait to get out to the school sites.

As the district reduces some of its resources, including teachers, because of lower enrollment, Binks noted it is important to have someone in the role of Assistant Superintendent of Business Services who has instructional background.

“I think it is important to have an instructional lens, especially when times are lean, to make sure we are always supporting the classroom,” Binks said about Vreeman in his new role.

“I am very honored to serve in this role,” said Vreeman, who has been with the district since 2000-01. “To be able to serve in the Business Services side of the house is truly an honor. I think the conditions for learning are equally as important as the curriculum, instruction and teaching. The conditions that our students come to school every day, our teachers work hard in classrooms every day and the way things are done to maintain this operation, through Business Services.”

Anderson thanked the district for her promotion.

“I just want to thank you all for the opportunity, for trusting me in this position, and also for our principals and administrators and school staff, I appreciate the opportunity and am truly humbled by it,” she said.

Teacher layoffs

At the February school board meeting, it was announced 27.2 teacher positions would be eliminated. At the time, Black explained she expected that number to be reduced after retirements and resignations.

“Of the 27.2 positions that we are reducing, we only have three employees that we actually have to lay off,” Black said. “That’s a pretty good thing.”

Classified employees fared even better than certified. Although five positions will be eliminated, effective July 1, four of them are currently vacant or expected to be vacant by then, Black said.

“The fifth position, although that position is being eliminated, there is that same position at another location that is going to be vacant. I will be able to move that person into that position,” Black said. “There are actually no classified employees that will lose their job.”

“This is good to hear,” board president Chuck Christie said.

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