SF school board votes to cut 900 teachers

February 23, 2010 11:37:35 PM PST
More painful school cuts must be made in San Francisco. The district has to slash more than $100 million from its budget and that means hundreds of jobs will be lost. A school board meeting is underway right now to discuss the options.

The school board voted to send out 900 pink slips. During the meeting, teachers and parents reminded the school board that they were making these cuts based on a two-year projection and were asking them to consider the possibility of a better economy before then.

This scenario is playing out across the state and it looks like the most disenfranchised schools are going to be hurt the most.

John Muir Elementary School, in the Western Addition, stands to lose a lot as the school district begins chopping $113 million from its two-year budget.

Nine-hundred pink slips are expected go out to teachers and staff and layoffs will be based on seniority, not performance.

John Muir is a typical struggling school where about two-thirds of the faculty has low seniority.

Leslie Dupree's daughter has felt the turnover and she worries that the instability will cause these schools to fall further behind.

"I noticed the difference in how she was reacting to the new teacher. She was comfortable with her first teacher, then she had to develop that relationship all over again midyear," said parent Dupree.

"We can't skip over and say we want the youngest, most energetic people. We do respect our contract. We honor it and that means we have to go by seniority," said school board member Jill Wynns.

Science, math and special education teachers will be protected because they are in high demand. Meanwhile, the board is considering raising kindergarten through third grade class sizes from 22 to 25 students, cutting summer school, district wide furloughs, and cutting bus service.

"I think it's going to be devastating. I think we're going to lose programs that are serious, intervention programs that protect our kids, that help our kids," said John Muir teacher Michele Cogley.

With fewer resources schools will depend more on parent volunteers.

The 900 pink slips will go out in March, but the school district has the option to rescind many of them. Last year, 500 pink slips went out, but City Hall pitched in $24 million of its rainy day fund and pulled back all of its pink slips. That money, however, is not available this year.

It was a depressing night and school officials anticipate that the governor will announce more budget cuts in the months to come.


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