District to Teachers: Concessions or Pink Slips?

While the district asks teachers to return to the bargaining table, the teachers union has its eye on the March 6 board meeting

The San Diego Unified School District and the teachers union have two weeks to make a deal or more than 1600 district employees could get pink slips.

The teachers union is calling on its members to attend the March 6 meeting of the San Diego Unified School Board to challenge the district’s plan to issue more than 1600 pink slips.

The board, which is facing a $122 million budget shortfall for next year, is asking the union to negotiate some $50 million in concessions to avoid the job losses.

The union has told its members it’s been asked to make $91 million in wage and benefit concessions.

On Thursday, John Lee Evans, Ph.D., SDUSD Board of Education President called on the union to come to the bargaining table. Evans said the district has only two choices – to issue the layoff notices for more than 1,600 teachers and certified staff or reach an agreement to keep the current level of staffing.

If the two sides can't reach a deal before March 15, there may be cuts to programs like music and art, and larger class sizes.

The average wage-and-benefits cost of a classroom teacher is $75,263 per year according to the teachers union. “Do the math yourself,” the union leadership posted on its website. “Calculate how many millions of dollars the District will save if they move forward with these 1,608 position eliminations.”

The district has said it is putting together a "worst case scenario" budget that would include cuts to counseling, nursing, police services, central offices and elementary school music programs.

The planned budget does not account for union concessions or a possible November ballot measure.

“Unless the legislature changes the way they're going about this budget that's what we have to do,” SDUSD spokesperson Bernie Rhinerson said last week. “It's history repeating itself every year, every year.”

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