More Than 20,000 California Teachers Pink-Slipped
More than 20,000 public school teachers in California opened their mailboxes over the last few days to find a pink slip inside as districts met the state’s Thursday deadline for dispensing the dreaded news to the educators that they may not have a job in the fall.
The layoff notices are preliminary, the districts’ best guess at the amount of money they will get to educate kids next year after the Legislature concludes its annual budget fight this summer. But a proposed tax measure on the November ballot offers more uncertainty than usual.
Districts won’t know until two months into the new school year whether voters will approve a tax increase that would prevent a $4.8 billion trigger cut to education funding, as proposed in the governor’s budget.
That cut would be about $807 per student, the equivalent of 55,000 teacher layoffs or 17 days of school, according to The Education Coalition, representing 2.5 million teachers, parents, administrators, school boards and other school employees.
“Though the very future of our state depends on California’s teachers … (they) will now spend months in limbo, worrying about their futures and the future of their students,” state Superintendent Tom Torlakson in a statement.
The layoff notices were sent to teachers, librarians and others in schools all over California. Not many districts found a way to skirt the deadline.
San Francisco sent out 500 layoff notices.
In Los Angeles, 11,000 were sent.
About 700 were mailed in Sacramento.
Every school librarian in Union City got one, along with 100 teachers, administrators and other school staff.
Oakland Unified avoided having to send out the notices because administrators found a way to balance its budget through attrition, prior elimination of adult education, across-the-board cuts at school sites, school mergers and closures, as well as other program cuts.
As the pink slip deadline approached, the mood in dozens of districts across the state reflected a growing public impatience with budget cuts to education. Parents protested, teachers rallied, and three students in San Leandro held a weeklong hunger strike to draw attention to the cost to classrooms.
In years past, many of the layoff notices issued by the March 15 deadline have been rescinded because of concessions from labor unions, changes to the state’s revenue outlook or successful parcel tax measures.
This year, the tax measure in particular makes it unclear how much wiggle room districts will have.
In the meantime, there are tough decisions to make.