Teacher pink slips out of sync with budget impasse
May 16, 2011
Dozens of San Luis Obispo County teachers received final layoff notices last week in compliance with the state-imposed deadline of May 15, even though school districts are still in the dark about their financial status for the coming school year. [California Watch]
The May 15 deadline followed a March 15 deadline, when the state required school districts to issue preliminary layoff notices. The dates are completely out of sync with the stalled negotiations in Sacramento that will determine whether billions of dollars more will have to be slashed from public school budgets.
In March, the Paso Robles Unified School District sent pink slips to 28 teachers. Last week, the board lowered that number to 26 teachers who are slated to be laid off on June 30.
The Lucia Mar Unified School District board also voted lat week to send final layoff notices to nine teachers and five other credentialed employees.
Teachers and administrators argue that the dates, specified in Education Code 44955, should be changed to reflect reality.
At the very least, say some, the final layoff deadline should be moved until after the governor announces the revision of his annual budget on May 15. This year, because May 15 fell on a Sunday, Gov. Jerry Brown will issue his “May revise” on Monday.
However, regardless of what he says about the schools budget for the coming school year, teachers facing termination will already have their final layoff notices in hand, said California Watch.
“If teachers are going to receive a final notice, they will have received it,” said Suzanne Speck, a director at School Services of California, a leading Sacramento-based consulting firm to California Watch.
In addition to its impact on teachers themselves, the issue has direct consequences for classroom instruction.
Because of the early deadlines, school districts may be forced to lay off more teachers than they may be required to. As a result, students who show up in the fall may be assigned to crowded classes in the fall until districts have time to hire additional teachers. California Watch added.
“It is disruptive,” Speck said. “You would like kids to start with the same teachers they are going to have for the entire year.”
“It causes a lot of hardship,” said Mike Myslinski, a spokesman for the California Teachers Association to California Watch. As a result of the artificial deadlines, he said, “districts are going to make decisions on worst-case scenarios, even though what happens might not be as bad as predicted.”