Pink slip season underway in Calif. schools

March 1, 2011 8:47:42 PM PST
School districts throughout the Bay Area are getting ready to send out layoff notices to teachers -- March 15 is the deadline. This year it's especially unpredictable because their fate is in the hands of voters.

Before any layoff notices are mailed off, school boards across California must vote to eliminate positions. Last night, San Rafael agreed to slash 40 jobs, but those could be rescinded if California voters agree to extend a series of taxes.

"We're really hopeful the legislature finds it fit to put it before California voters and let voters choose," said San Rafael Superintendent Michael Watenpaugh.

Voters are expected to decide in June. In the meantime, districts are taking a conservative approach and planning for a less favorable scenario. So Tuesday night the Bovato school board will vote to lay off 24 teachers and administrators. San Francisco could mail out 425 preliminary pink slips. The board votes Tuesday night.

Because of its size, San Francisco Unified is expected to send out more layoff notices than any other district in the Bay Area and because it's based on seniority, some schools will lose more teachers than others.

This is Rebecca Snyder's second year at John Muir Elementary.

"It's not just about me losing my job and about me and my family. This is about the lives of now my 20 kids or the 200 families we have here and what the means for their kids and their education," said Snyder.

John Muir Elementary Principal Chris Rozenberg says he is concerned about the impact layoffs would have on the entire community.

"The children already have enough uncertainty in their lives and enough transitions that we want to limit that. And you start building some consistency and then you have to start again, it's challenging for them," said Rozenberg.

Layoffs are made final in mid-May. If the tax extension fails in June, San Rafael's superintendent says his schools will lose more than teachers and administrators.

"Over the last three years, we've lost about $1,900 per student and the worst case scenario, based on what the legislative analyst is saying, $760 more per child," said Watenpaugh.

California faces a $28 billion budget deficit.

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