Teachers, parents and administrators spilled into the hallway and listened from the foyer as the school board voted unanimously to lay off 104 full-time temporary teachers -- two-thirds of them at elementary schools -- who have been filling in for colleagues on leaves of absence or special assignments that have taken them away from the classroom.
An additional 14 part-time temporary instructors also will be out of work as of June 30.
Lowest in the pecking order, temporary teachers must reapply for their jobs and can't even do that until probationary and permanent teachers who received pink slips have been rehired.
Antioch Unified administrators ultimately must slash $7.6 million from the district's general fund as well as $1.1 million earmarked for special services.
"This is no fun for any of us," said board President Walter Ruehlig. "I don't know whether to compare it with a trip to the dentist or a trip to a wake."
Calling the cuts "Draconian," Trustee Claire Smith emphasized that district officials considered every cost-cutting idea that employees and the public submitted as they wrestled with which people and services might have to go.
The school board also voted to eliminate the equivalent of nearly 83 full-time probationary teachers in English, art, music, physical education and other areas as well as certificated employees who have non-teaching roles.
Those jobs range from senior management -- the district's two assistant superintendents and chief academic officer, for example -- along with directors of various departments at district headquarters, vice principals, psychologists and guidance counselors.
The law requires school districts to notify certificated personnel by March 15 if there's a chance they might be laid off.
Exactly how many individuals the equivalent of 82.7 full-time employees represents is not yet known.
In any event, the number of those who actually will lose their jobs depends on whether the state's financial picture improves between now and May 15, when the school district will make its final decision.
Also on the chopping block is the equivalent of 48 full-time employees who don't have teaching credentials, a list that includes groundskeepers, custodians, clerical, library and food service workers.
Unless there's a reversal of fortune, these employees' last day will be June 30.
Salary freezes and reductions the board approved Monday are expected to save around $532,000.
Neither managers who have teaching certificates nor those who don't will receive raises next year, and senior managers in both groups will work up to four days without pay.
Board members noted that all these spending cuts assume a worst-case scenario.
Even so, they explained that the district must make them now so it can include them in a budget update that it will submit to the county in the next few weeks. The county Office of Education reviews school districts' budgets several times a year to ensure they remain solvent.
To reach their target of $8.7 million, Antioch Unified officials also are considering dropping contracts with certain vendors as well as shutting down the entire district during spring and winter breaks.
Another possibility is staggering work schedules so that employees collectively can cover a longer period without the district having to pay overtime.
"It doesn't stop tonight," said Chief Business Official Denise Porterfield. "This is not the final round of budget solutions."
Reach Rowena Coetsee at 925-779-7141 or firstname.lastname@example.org.