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.