Teacher, Employee Layoffs Hinge on Board Vote

More than 1,500 employees received pink slips last month

More than 1,500 teachers, nurses and counselors will be laid off, after the San Diego Unified School District voted to finalize layoff notices Tuesday night.

The layoffs were approved as a way to remedy a $122 million deficit in next year's operating budget in order to deal with the state's fiscal crisis. 

Four trustees voted in favor of finalizing the1,534 layoff notices. School Board Vice President Scott Barnett was the only trustee to vote against the layoffs.

Barnett also voted against a resolution to "keep the district fiscally sound during difficult economic times." The resolution was approved by all boardmembers except Barnett. Barnett told NBC 7 earlier this month that board trustees should declare insolvency now to protect employees. The board rejected that suggestion.

Hundreds of teachers and staff protested in anticipation of the board's vote.

Many attended and spoke at the meeting, which started at 7 p.m. (right).

School nurses were among those at the protest. By one school nurse's calculations, up to one-third of the nurses could receive final layoff notices at the meeting. 

Losing those nurses would be detrimental to the lives of both students and teachers, said school nurse Ann Sutherland. The nurses are the only ones qualified to give growing number of students with diabetes their insulin shots, and administer other medications.

The nurses are also responsible for training teachers on how to take care of students who are having seizures or reactions to severe allergies, Sutherland said.

In the months leading up to Tuesday's vote, the district and the teacher's union failed to reach an agreement for $50 million in employee concessions to keep the current level of staffing. The union's president told NBC 7 that he is working with people at the capital to go over the numbers.

The teachers will be able to file appeals through an administrative review if they do receive a final layoff notice Tuesday evening.

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