At least 19,000 teacher layoffs in CA, 500 layoffs in SF
Besides reforming Prop 13, what can we do to make sure we fund education? Thousands of teachers in California are receiving layoff notices.
California teacher pink slips snag veterans
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
After five years of teaching, Quyen Tran thought maybe this year she wouldn't get a pink slip.
She got the bad news from her principal at Emanuele Elementary School in Union City earlier this month. Days later, the layoff notice landed with a thud in her mailbox.
It was one of at least 19,000 sent to California teachers by the state's March 15 deadline, including 60 in Tran's district. Those numbers are likely to increase as more districts report their layoff numbers later this week, according to teachers union officials.
Many of the public school teachers on the layoff list are classroom veterans like Tran, who thought that by now in their career, they'd have job security.
But over the past three years, 30,000 teachers have lost their jobs because of budget cuts, forcing district officials this year to drill deeper into their seniority lists.
"Today is a bad day," state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said Tuesday at a rally at Portola Elementary School in San Bruno. Teachers "full of hope are being told there is no room in the budget for them."
Waiting for money
School districts won't know until summer whether they'll get enough money to retain some of those teachers. It hinges on the California budget and whether proposed measures to extend and increase state taxes end up on the June ballot and are approved by voters.
Success or failure of the measures would mean a difference in revenue of about $14 billion for the state in general and $2 billion for public schools. That's about $330 for each of the state's 6 million students.
Teachers, parents, children, labor union officials and other education leaders participated in several Bay Area events Tuesday to urge lawmakers to put the tax measures, proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown, on the ballot.
In the meantime, many districts were forced to plan for a worst-case scenario.
Across the nine-county Bay Area, school officials issued at least 2,800 teacher pink slips this month, including 530 in Oakland, 100 in West Contra Costa, 82 in Mount Diablo and 35 in Alameda.
In San Francisco, nearly 500 teachers, aides, counselors, nurses and administrators got notices this year.
Those numbers don't include the estimated 1,000 bus drivers, custodians, office workers and other school employees who are expected to receive layoff notices later this school year, state education officials said Tuesday.
"I have never seen such unprecedented cuts," said David Sanchez, president of the California Teachers Association. "The list goes on and on. All these cuts come after years of deep cuts."
Nine layoff notices
At Tran's school, nine out of 40 teachers received layoff notices.
It was the second straight year she got one. Last year, she didn't find out until August - days before the school year started - that she still had a job.
Six months pregnant, she isn't looking forward to months of anxiety.
"This year, I'm more disappointed and stressed out just because of the baby," she said. "Who can survive these days on one income with a newborn?"
Still, she has no plans to leave the profession.
"I love it and I will hang tough," she said. "I can't imagine doing anything else besides teaching."
E-mail Jill Tucker at firstname.lastname@example.org.