Accelify Blog

Teacher Layoff Notices May Stick in San Francisco Unified ( CA)

March 30, 2011

More than 400 San Francisco teachers, administrators and aides will receive state-mandated notices that they could lose their jobs at the end of the school year, according to district documents.

Although this number of potential layoffs is not out of the ordinary for the San Francisco Unified School District, the number of teachers who actually receive their walking papers could be far greater than past years.

Gov. Jerry Brown has recommended a combination of spending cuts and revenue extensions to close California’s $28 billion budget deficit. His plan hinges on a possible June special election to let voters decide whether to extend vehicle and income taxes already in place.

But the California education code requires school districts across the state to inform teachers and district employees by May 15 that they could lose their jobs next school year.

Although K-12 education was spared in the governor’s recommended budget released in January, if the tax extensions are not approved, it faces cuts.

As a result, SFUSD Superintendent Carlos Garcia is expected to issue layoff notices to 172 teachers, 139 administrators and 108 aides Tuesday.

If the tax extensions are not approved — or do not make it on the ballot — San Francisco Unified stands to lose an additional $27 million in funding, according to Deputy Superintendent of Finance Myong Leigh. Those cuts are on top of the $113 million the district lost for this school year and next.

Board of Education President Hydra Mendoza said it will be difficult tell ing teachers they could lose their jobs without knowing the district’s exact budget deficit.

“It’s virtually impossible for us to do anything,” Mendoza said.

She is hopeful the district can take advantage of the $8 million in The City’s rainy-day reserve, a 2003 voter approved fund, which requires 25 percent of the money to go to schools.

Even if the state ballot measures are approved by voters, the district will have to cut roughly $10 million from its $500 million budget. Because of this uncertainty, Leigh said, each school is creating two budgets.

If the district needs to cut $27 million, Leigh said officials will need to be creative.

“Everything’s on the table,” he said. “Programs, positions, all types of things. We’ll just have to keep looking harder.”

Crystal Brown of Educate our State, a nonprofit parents group aimed at restoring funding and quality education to K-12 schools, said failing to extend the taxes is not an option.

“We feel like they’re putting our children in the middle of this mess,” Brown said. “It’s a power struggle in Sacramento, and our kids are losers any way you cut it.”

The state Legislature has until March 10 to decide whether to hold a June election.