School trustees vote to take back some staff cuts
By Claire Trageser
City News Service
The San Diego Unified School District’s Board of Education voted 4-0 Tuesday to rescind 230 layoff notices it issued to teachers and other staff, but failed to pass a motion that would redirect redevelopment funds to save more teacher jobs.
The school board voted March 10 to eliminate 30 administrative positions, but decided today those jobs did not need to be cut.
Rescinding those administrative layoffs would also allow the board to take back pink slips it issued to about 200 other certificated, non-administrative personnel, school board President Richard Barrera said.
Since the March 10 meeting, district staff also found an additional $3.2 million in administrative savings, separate from the money that would have been saved by laying off 30 administrators, Barrera said.
Barrera proposed using that $3.2 million to save more jobs in the visual and performing arts and nursing programs.
The school board voted 3-1 to approve Barrera’s proposal, with board member Scott Barnett casting the opposing vote. Board member Shelia Jackson was absent.
The school board voted 4-0 to use Proposition S funds to pay $7.3 million it owes the Centre City Development Corp. for lease payments and tenant improvements for the so-called “Schoolbrary,” a downtown library and school site.
Barrera then proposed using that $7.3 million to fund other educational programs within the redevelopment area and in neighborhoods immediately surrounding the redevelopment area, which he said “is entirely consistent with our cooperative agreement with the CCDC.”
Specifically, Barrera suggested using that extra money to rescind layoffs of kindergarten through third grade teachers, which he said would allow the district to maintain its first grade class sizes at 24 students.
With the expected layoffs, those class sizes will increase to 29 students, he said.
The school board split 2-2 on Barrera’s proposal, with Barnett and board member John Lee Evans voting against it and Barrera and board member Kevin Beiser voting for it.
Barnett said he opposed Barrera’s idea because the school board does not know yet what the district’s final budget will be.
He called it “irrational” to rescind layoffs when the district could
be facing additional budget shortfalls.
“I can’t make that decision today,” Barnett said. “In 60 days when we know a lot more, then we can make a decision that’s not just based on symbolism.”
Evans said rescinding layoffs was tantamount to “rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.”
“I’m not convinced we’re going to be able to have enough money to open school next September,” he said. “I think it’s giving the wrong impression when we’re shuffling these chairs around and don’t know yet what’s going to happen.”
Barrera said he would bring up the motion again at the April 12 school board meeting when Jackson will be present.
- School board to vote on teacher layoffs next week
- School trustees approve layoff notices for 1,500 employees
- School board holds off on teacher layoffs until March 10
- Teacher, staff layoff before school board tonight
- District declines to make personnel cuts; budget balance threatened
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