1,300+ Pink Slips Mailed

More than 1,300 teachers, school counselors, nurses and principals are receiving formal notice that they could lose their jobs in June.

The certified letters were mailed Tuesday by the San Diego Unified School District.

880 teachers are getting the pink slips, and a total of more than 2,000 staffers, including janitors and cafeteria workers, could lose their jobs as San Diego Unified struggles to close a $114 million budget gap, according to District Chief-of-Staff Bernie Rhinerson.

The possible job cuts would hit especially hard at the Alternative Learning for Behavior and Attitude (ALBA) School, in North Park. It serves more than 200 troubled students each year, who have been expelled from other district schools.

ALBA would lose two counselors, a nurse, and two of its 13 teachers, said Principal Vernon Moore.

Moore says those cuts will put at risk the school's ability to help the special needs of its middle and high-school students.

"And that's one of the main components that has made ALBA work, is that we are able to personalize our services directly for the students that need them the most," says Moore.

District administrators say they've cut some $400 million from school budgets in the past four-to-five years, making it impossible to make further cuts without losing large numbers of teachers and support staff.

They say average class size in grades kindergarten-to-three would increase from 24 to 30 children per class, as a result of teacher lay-offs.

"That's going to be difficult for the kids to be engaged and to pay attention, and it's going to be hard for the teacher to manage those classrooms and deliver instruction," said Rhinerson.

He says the cuts will be much smaller if the state legislature puts a measure on the ballot that would extend the state's temporary tax increases, and if voters approve that extension.

"And that's important," Rhinerson says. "These are potential lay-offs, because a lot can happen between now and the adoption of the budget [in June]."

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