Feb 28 meeting preview: Board to consider layoffs

I’d urge you to skip tonight’s meeting, except that doing so wouldn’t be very responsible or appropriate. I can, however, tell you that listening to it or watching it (either online or in person) is going to be no fun at all — the only thing worse will be actually having to take the votes.

Tonight the Board considers the annual “Reduction in Force” (RIF) resolution and associated criteria for determining which teachers, paraprofessionals and administrators will receive preliminary layoff notices on March 15.

This year’s resolution asks the Board to issue preliminary layoff notices to 123 administrators, 210 teachers and 158 paraprofessionals (an additional 91 paraprofessionals would see their hours reduced).  All of this represents a “worst case” scenario — the district is required under state law to notice any employees who might be laid off at the end of the budget year by March 15; in addition, the threat of layoffs is a necessary pre-condition for the Mayor and the Board of Supervisors to release a portion of the City’s Rainy Day Fund to the school district. If the state budget gets better, and if we receive Rainy Day funds, many of these employees’ jobs will be saved, but we won’t know that for several more months.

The RIF process comes with an extra twist this year: the Superintendent is asking the Board to “skip” all teachers working in the 14 Superintendent Zone schools. Many of those folks are already senior enough to avoid layoffs, or have credentials that would allow them to be skipped from layoffs (special education is one example, math, science and bilingual teachers are other common exceptions the district has used in the past), but 70 are newer to the district and so their low seniority makes them more vulnerable to layoffs.  Expect a long discussion and heated public comment about this topic.

Background on the layoff process in prior years is (in no particular order) here, here and here.

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3 responses to “Feb 28 meeting preview: Board to consider layoffs

  1. Deborah Boero

    I understand a reduction in hours if it is due to the budget. I was one of the 91 paraporfessionals who received notice of a reduction in hours, not due to budget cuts, but because Special Ed is creating “standardized shifts” where paras at the secondary level are all 6 hours per day. Those who had their hours reduced are the N10′s with seniority, who have had those hours for years. This is not a budget issue when they are reducing hours of some and increasing the others of coworkers. If they want everyone at 6 hours, they should increase those who need it, and allow those with more than 6 to retain those hours until they vacate the position. Not cut hours of some to give to others working in the same department.
    Paras were aware of reduction of hours by way of furlough days and possibly losing floating holidays, but were not aware of this new “standardized hours” plan, which didn’t take seniority into account either.
    Again, if these cuts were made for bugetary reasons, I understand, however you can’t claim that when you are increasing the hours of others in the same department. Some of whom are first year Paras.
    Seems like this was added to the agenda as a layoff / reduction in hours, when standardization of hours is neither. I hope that you are able to help me better understand what happened here. I was told that we will not see our hours increased, even if there is money, as this is a new policy.

  2. Sadly, I believe, the Board is not so much going to consider the RIF resolution as they are going to “bear with” all the commentary until they can cast their vote which each has pretty much pre-determined. I guess this sounds cynical but in my years of attending such meetings this is the strongest impression I have always come aways with.
    I understand that the fiscally responsible move calls for cuts. I also understand the district has a balance scorecard that needs to be considered. It may not be possible to balance these priorities. It may be time to make a stand for what is socially responsible rather than is fiscally responsible. The fiscally responsible decisions, those historically made by the district and BoE, have got us where we are today.
    I wonder how great and famous advocates of civil rights, women’s rights, and other under-represented groups would handle the pressures of these competing priorities? I wonder if standing up for social justice is stronger and smarter stand to make? I wonder if we could stand together in solidarity in San Francisco and show the nation what it means to educate ALL children?

  3. What are the Superintendent Zone schools?

    I don’t envy you at all this process. I look forward to the day when California is once again at the top, rather than the bottom, of the education funding heap.