School Pink Slips Approved For Hundreds

By R. Stickney and Tony Shin
|  Thursday, Mar 10, 2011  |  Updated 10:43 PM PDT
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San Diego Schools Prep 900 Pink Slips

AP

Sure, lots of companies are laying off. But with executive pay raises?

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Prepping 900 Pink Slips

The governor can ask for more time to find a budget deal but SDUSD doesn't have it.

San Diego Schools Prep 900 Pink Slips

Teacher lay-offs and larger class-sizes are just part of the harsh realities our local schools are facing. The county says a tax extension could have significant implications for San Diego students.
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The San Diego Unified School District, the largest district in the county and the second largest in the state, voted Thursday 3 to 2 in favor of sending out 1500 layoff notices including 920 for teachers.

The three board members who voted for the pink slips include Sheila Jackson, Richard Barrera and John Lee Evans.

Hundreds of school employees attended the meeting, many of them stood outside rallying against the possible layoffs.

“We want to send the school board a message that we need to keep our class sizes low,”said teacher Julie Marinetto.

"If you cut these teacher, how will students develop the creativity to use science, math and english to positively develop humanity,"said another teacher.

The vote came on the same day Governor Jerry Brown set as the deadline to reach a budget deal with state leaders. Included in that deal are tax extensions that, if they make the June ballot and get approved by voters, would raise millions to help ease the state's $26.6 billion deficit.

While Brown has said he may need more time to negotiate, SDUSD board members don't have it. They can't stall issuing hundreds of pink slips but instead, must adhere to a March 15 deadline. The California Education Code requires employees on the chopping block to receive notice by that date. 

The district is facing a severe budget crisis and they say they have to plan for the worst-case scenario.

At this point, San Diego Unified says it's facing a reduction of $114 million in the general fund for 2011-2012 school year. Cuts would include teachers, counselors and school nurses -- more than 1500 people in all.

The teachers union believes the numbers are wrong.

“One year they laid off more than 900 and recalled them all back,” said teachers union president Bill Freeman. “So I'm hoping they will look at numbers and see there is not a need to do that and we'll move forward from there.”

“I trust the district will do that,” he said.

The San Diego County Board of Education met Wednesday night and voted unanimously to support the proposed tax extension joining more than 250 local school boards that have done so.

“The significance of this vote is that school boards are telling the public they need their support,” said board spokesperson Lora Duzyk.

For now, Brown and the so-called "GOP-5" are still in talks. One of those Republican senators, Sen. Sam Blakeslee of San Luis Obispo, told the Sacramento Bee, "Hard decisions are called for, and we're going to try to make those decisions as responsibly as we can.

"We want to make sure that voters have all the right choices before them on the ballot if that ... if we get to that point. But it's not clear we're at that point," he told the paper. 

If you want to know what you can do, the California Teachers Association has posted advice on how parents can get involved.

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