School board will not rescind layoff notices

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – The San Diego Unified School District Board of Education Tuesday night rejected attempts to rescind layoff notices to elementary school teachers and classified staff, citing lack of funds.

Board President Richard Barrera proposed rescinding layoff notices for all permanent elementary school teachers hired through 2005, but the motion was rejected on a 3-2 vote, with Barrera and board member Kevin Beiser casting the yes votes.

The board also voted 3-1 to reject an amendment that would have rescinded layoff notices to classified staff. Sheila Jackson, who introduced the amendment, cast the lone yes vote and Beiser abstained.

“If we're going to go down the tubes, lets go down fighting for everybody,” Jackson said when she introduced the amendment. “I will close this building down before I start closing schools.”

If the amendment was adopted, it would have cost the district an additional $30 million on top of the $114 million budget deficit it faces for the 2011-12 school year.

“We can vote to rescind every single layoff but our voting for it does not create the money,” board Vice President John Lee Evans said. “We are not magicians and can just pull the money out of a hat.”

Several students and teachers spoke out in opposition of the next school year's budget, which will eliminate up to 760 teaching and staff positions.

Among those were students from Central Elementary School who attempted to pull at board members' heartstrings by expressing their concerns about increasing class sizes and begged school board to save their teachers' jobs.

“I'm going to fight with everything I have to make sure we have the money to put people back in positions to keep your class sizes low,” Barrera said.

Evans proposed using money set aside to give raises to save jobs and said that the board has a responsibility to educate students and restore as many jobs as possible.

The board ultimately passed a motion to adopt the proposed decision by an administrative law judge who upheld 307 district layoffs.

The board also presented estimated attrition numbers for the 2010-11 school year, stating about 467 teachers and staff had left their positions in the district for various reasons including retirement and resignation. Attrition numbers could affect the number of district employees whose layoff notices will be rescinded.

The board also voted unanimously to keep seven classified positions associated with the San Diego Adolescent Pregnancy and Parenting Program, at the cost of nearly $350,000. The proposition eliminated five positions which were vacant.

More than 100 people attended the meeting to protest the budget cuts, some wearing shirts printed with “Together We Are STRONGER” and holding up signs during the meeting.

Categories: KUSI