Layoff notices go out to teachers | March 20, 2009 | Danville Express | |

Danville Express

Newsfront - March 20, 2009

Layoff notices go out to teachers

More than 15 percent of the district teaching staff receive pink slips

by Geoff Gillette

Concern is growing among parents and teachers in the School District regarding the quality of education in the face of large scale layoffs announced last week.

San Ramon Valley Unified spokesman Terry Koehne said that 228 teachers have received the layoff notices - 15 percent of the district's 1,400 teaching staff. The school district is facing a $10 million budget shortfall, with little or no additional help coming from the state.

In addition, a school parcel tax measure expiring in June will result in the loss of an additional $7 million in revenues. The district's annual budget comes in around $200 million.

A new parcel tax is on the ballot May 5, but Koehne said the district can't legally wait until the results of the election to determine what cuts will be made.

"State Education Code says that if anyone is at risk of losing their position, they must be notified by March 15," he explained.

That rule applies solely to "certificated" employees, those with teaching credentials. Support staff, known as "classified" employees must be notified within 45 days of the end of the school year.

Koehne said there will be cuts among classified staff.

"The next step for our personnel department is to begin looking at those type of positions and see where we can cut back," Koehne said. He added those notices will go out in mid-April.

Once the notices have gone out, the district will have to wait until they get the results of the May election. If the parcel tax measure receives the two-thirds majority it needs to pass, many of the teachers facing layoff could be spared.

"While it is too early to be certain, it is fair to say that the passage of Measure C would mean that we would come back to the table and take another look. It could mean that those notices would be rescinded," Koehne stated.

If no action is taken by the district, the preliminary layoff notices would become final. Koehne said that teachers with less seniority will be the first affected, which could mean drastic changes at newer schools with younger teaching staff. Some schools could see as much as 50 percent of their teaching staff laid off.

For those teachers still employed some will be uprooted and moved to a different school in order to provide staff at schools left with a shortage due to the layoffs.

"There will be a lot of shuffling. That creates a lot of chaos, a lot of anxiety among the staff. It has a devastating effect on morale throughout the district," Koehne said.