Teachers’ plea to be spared precedes 40 layoffs

School district furloughs save $1.1M

After listening to more than an hour of heartfelt testimony from
educators, parents and program directors, trustees unanimously
passed a resolution allowing the district to issue 40 layoff
notices to its teachers.
After listening to more than an hour of heartfelt testimony from educators, parents and program directors, trustees unanimously passed a resolution allowing the district to issue 40 layoff notices to its teachers.

The district’s least senior teachers will receive pink slips by March 15, a state imposed deadline. However, the district hopes to reinstate as many teachers as possible after wrapping up a round of negotiations with the teacher’s union. If the district accepts a proposal the union has presented, a number of pink slips could be replaced with a shorter school year and allow the district to maintain smaller class sizes.

About 100 teachers, many who were dressed in black to mark the statewide Day of Action declared by California educators, crowded into the chilly board room to speak out against increasing class sizes and laying off teachers. At least another 100 took seats in two conference rooms and watched the board meeting on television monitors. District administrators directed the overflow audience into the two ancillary rooms to avoid the situation that occurred at an earlier board meeting on the budget, when two hundred people packed into the board room, occupying every flat surface, from the floor to tabletops.

Superintendent Deborah Flores opened the discussion by reading from a prepared statement reminding teachers that the board’s decision that evening was not final.

“The board and I would be happy to later rescind any layoff notices that go out but if the board does not take action on layoffs tonight…then the hands of the district will be tied,” she read. “We do not want to issue a single layoff notice but have no choice at this point.”

The district would have had to issue even more layoff notices had 14 teachers not agreed to retire early and another 14 teachers not already submitted their resignations. Flores said the district will rejoin the union at the bargaining table Monday to take a look at the teachers’ proposal to reduce the school year by four days, a plan that would save the district $930,000 annually, save jobs and keep class sizes as low as possible, according to union figures.

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