News Column

Calif. Retains More Teachers Than Anticipated

May 28, 2013
teacher in classroom

Fewer California teachers found pink slips in their mailboxes this month.

May 15 is the annual deadline for final notice of a layoff. March 15 is the date warning notices must be given.

This year's deadline for school districts to hand out layoff notices to educators ended with about 1,256 members of the California Teachers Association receiving final pink slips.

That's about half of what the union had projected, according to President Dean Vogel. The union says it represents about 95 percent of K-12 teachers in the state.

The actual number of teachers who lose their jobs will decrease through the summer as districts rehire teachers as more money becomes available or other teachers retire or leave the district.

In Merced County, only three teachers got the notices, according to superintendents' responses to a McClatchy Newspapers query.

"We are laying off one teacher due to a lower than expected (kindergarten) enrollment. If the numbers come up we will bring this individual back," said Delhi Unified Superintendent Brian Stephens.

Two part-time teachers also were laid off from Livingston schools, said Livingston Union Elementary Superintendent Andres Zamora.

Other Merced districts reported no layoffs.

For the first time in three years, there are no layoffs in the Merced Union High School District, and 10 new teachers likely will be hired for the fall, Sandy Schiber, assistant superintendent for human resources, said.

Greg Spicer, associate superintendent for administrative services of the Merced City School District, said no layoffs are planned, the first time in five years there have been no reductions.

There may not be any new teacher hires either, he added.

With the McSwain Union School District, Superintendent Stan Mollart said no layoffs are planned and at least one retiring teacher will be replaced.

"Happy to report -- zero. In fact, we are hiring! Happy days in Atwater," said Atwater Elementary School District Superintendent Melinda Hennes.

In Stanislaus County, the financially strapped Denair Unified School District sent notices to 13 teachers, Interim Superintendent Walt Hanline said.

Many of those getting pink slips were junior high or high school teachers losing a portion of their teaching day. Hanline said the cuts added up to the equivalent of about 6 1/2 full-time positions.

Modesto City Schools laid off three Regional Occupational Program teachers, with a fourth taking a part-time post teaching a regular course, said Superintendent Pam Able.

The Stanislaus County Office of Education laid off three special education teachers, but two will move to a north Modesto district and the third took a part-time position in Patterson Unified, said county office administrator Barbara Tanner.

Other notices were essentially paper layoffs with the teacher rehired or hired in another capacity.

After struggling through years of layoffs, California schools have started to reverse course thanks to voter-approved taxes and economic recovery.

Support workers such as secretaries and custodians need only a 60-day notice to be laid off, but schools overall have indicated they also expect to lay off fewer of those employees.

The CTA's Vogel attributes the turnaround to voter-approved Proposition 30, which helps fund education, and to districts that have relaxed their grip on reserves as the budget picture has improved.

Since 2008, California has lost 8.5 percent of its teacher work force, going from 310,361 to 283,836, according to the California Department of Education.

Staff writer Diana Lambert of The Sacramento Bee contributed to this report.


(c)2013 the Merced Sun-Star (Merced, Calif.)

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Source: Copyright Merced Sun-Star (CA) 2013

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