SF Unified announces teacher layoffs

February 23, 2009 5:27:53 PM PST
Hundreds of teachers around the Bay Area are bracing for pink slips, now that school districts can see how the state budget cut education.

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San Francisco revealed on Monday it's sending out 500 layoff notices. San Jose anticipates sending out 570, but stresses it will rescind many of them due to retirements and other normal attrition. San Ramon says it might have to send out 500 notices. The situation is bad, but there may be some hope for San Francisco teachers.

John Laviolette is a math teacher who expects to be laid off.

"I left a job in tech and I had a secure job and bright future, but I wanted to be a teacher. So it's going to discourage teachers like myself in the future," said Laviolette.

Next year San Francisco Unified faces a deficit of $29 million. To balance its budget by June, the district needs to lay off teachers in the next few weeks.

"We are projecting to lay off 144 administrators, that's principals and vice principals and so forth and 362 teachers," said Carlos Garcia, the San Francisco Unified superintendant.

That alone won't be enough. The district anticipates cutting other programs. The district admits the federal stimulus plan brings some relief, but not much.

"It's designated for specific programs, Title One and Special Education, so it's not designated to be able to be used for anything the school district wants to use," said Garcia.

Like last year, the district is hoping to get money from the city's rainy day fund as much as $24 million. But San Francisco Board of Supervisors President David Chiu says the city faces a budget crisis of its own.

"We need to grapple as quickly as we can with the hundreds of millions of dollars that we do not have this year compared to past years," said Chiu.

The proposal to lay off teacher and administrators will be presented to the school board Tuesday night. If approved, layoff notices will be sent out in early March.

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