The Mt. Diablo school board on Tuesday night cut more than $2 million in jobs, part of a series of reductions board members say will help pay for employee raises and benefits under negotiation.

The district will eliminate one crew of roving custodians to save roughly $172,000 this school year. The group, made up of three custodial workers, answer calls for emergency bathroom cleanups and disinfects campuses where staph infections occur.

As of July 1, the district will cut three elementary vice principals, two psychologists, 15 teachers, two speech pathologists, three special education teachers and two teachers who work with at-risk students.

"We're in tough times," board member Dick Allen said at Tuesday night's meeting. "Really tough times."

Superintendent Gary McHenry also recommended leaving unfilled the chief financial officer position until the beginning of July to save $40,000 this school year. Gloria Gamblin, who left on medical leave Nov. 26, is slated to retire in February.

"What we're trying to do is reduce our expenses," McHenry said.

Board member Gary Eberhart said scrapping one of the district's most vital positions in a time of economic uncertainty concerned him.

The district faces potential state budget cuts on top of current reductions and needs a steady hand to direct finances, Eberhart said. In only two months, the board will need to present another fiscal plan to the county and begin preparing the 2008-09 budget due in June.


Eberhart said that freezing the position could deter applicants.

"We should be actively and aggressively recruiting," Eberhart said.

McHenry said that the district would rely partly on the budget director and the workers compensation manager to pull the budget together. Dick Nicoll, an assistant superintendent, has been overseeing finances since Gamblin took leave.

"We think we have in place personnel to keep us afloat," McHenry said.