School board members had been scheduled to hold an emergency meeting Friday evening in which they would declare a fiscal emergency, but reached an agreement with the Victor Valley Teachers Association hours beforehand.
"It was enough of a settlement for them to cancel the meeting," said Michele McClowry, a fiscal adviser appointed by the San Bernardino County superintendent of schools, whose office oversees the financial health of the public school districts in the county.
Victor Valley Superintendent Elvin Momon issued a news release about the meeting's cancellation Friday, shortly before 4 p.m.:
"Today, our administration was able to come to an agreement with our teachers," Momon's announcement reads in part. "Coupled with prior, similar actions by (non-teacher) employees, management, and administrators - results in critical cost-cutting measures to likely stave off state takeover. As a result, the district will implement six unpaid days for all employees during the remainder of this school year, and eight for each of the next two school years.
"Simply put, these serious and substantial reductions are a necessary step to keep our school district from being taken over by the state. The Board of Education is elected by the people of this community to help ensure that the community's voice is considered when making decisions about our local public schools. It is our moral imperative to help keep local control of our schools and ensure that our community's local voices, values and concerns will continue to be a force in our vision, action and management."
Still, Momon was blunt about the future, adding that the district still has serious financial problems that need to be addressed.
For now, the district will continue to negotiate with unions to stave off the need to declare a fiscal emergency, he added.
The six furlough days this school year and eight days in the next two fiscal years were among the provisions in the resolution of fiscal emergency that board members had been set to vote on Friday evening.
That resolution also would have capped health care and welfare benefits at the current level and reduce all paid leaves to state-mandated levels.
The tentative agreement still has to be ratified by the school board at a future meeting. Should the district not right its financial ship, the district will begin turning over control to state receivership on Feb. 15.
District offices are closed on Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day and on Tuesday for a previously planned furlough day.
Staff Writer Josh Dulaney contributed to this report.
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