Despite Hard Times, District Averts Layoffs

The news of school employee layoffs has made headlines in dozens of California school districts during the past week. Fortunately, the Long Beach Unified School District has averted layoffs through a two-year classified hiring freeze and other savings efforts. The March 15 deadline to notify teachers of layoffs has resulted in calls from experienced teachers in other districts whose jobs are in jeopardy as a result of expected state budget cuts. At a recent meeting of classified personnel directors from throughout Southern California, Long Beach Unified School District was the only district that was not issuing massive classified layoff notices. "We are very fortunate," said Ramon Curiel, personnel administrator. The Long Beach Press-Telegram, in a March 17 editorial, cited the district's prudent planning. "It is a testament to the leadership of Long Beach Unified, the state's third largest district, that it did not have to issue a single pink slip last week." In contrast, here was the news elsewhere: • San Diego city schools sent layoff notices to 1,491 teachers. • San Jacinto sent notices to 46 of their 330 teachers, one nurse and six counselors. • Tamalpais Union High School District released 26 temporary teachers and sent layoff notices to 55 other employees. • Chico Unified School District sent notices to 215 temporary and permanent teachers. • San Ramon Valley school board voted to hand pink slips to 270 teachers. • West Contra Costa school board members agreed to send pink slips to 956 teachers. • El Dorado Union High School District will reduce by up to 21 teachers the number of educators at its school sites. • Cajon Valley Union School District will lose 37 kindergarten teaching positions next year and may eliminate eight bus routes. • Oceanside sent out notices to 160 teachers and will scale back bus service. • In the Huntington Beach City School District, 45 teachers received layoff notices. • Mt. Diablo Unified School District is finalizing the list of 500 teachers and administrators who will be sent pink slips. • The San Francisco Unified School District will mail out 1,000 layoff warning notices. • Saddleback Valley Unified issued 209 layoff notices. • Pomona Unified voted to notify 80 intern and emergency credentialed teachers of possible layoffs. • Upland's board voted to notify 185 employees that their jobs are no longer secure for the next school year. • Fontana Unified school has sent out preliminary pink slips to 196 of its full-time employees. • Laguna Beach school board issued notices to 57 educators--more than 43 percent of its staff. • Cypress schools unanimously approved 36 teacher layoffs. • Capistrano Unified sent out 233 pink slips to teachers and administrators. • 145 of Novato School District's teachers received layoff notices. • Del Mar Union School District sent 32 layoff or release notices. • Eureka City Schools formally laid off nearly 40 teachers. • San Leandro school board approved 119 layoff notices. • Albany school district passed out 60 layoff notices. • About 400 students walked out of class to protest teacher layoffs announced by Oakland Unified School District. • More than 100 protesters called on Riverside Unified School District not to cut teachers. • Even as thousands are receiving layoff notices, California is still spending millions of dollars to lure new teachers to the profession through programs created at the height of what state officials once thought was going to be a decade-long teacher shortage.