A wrinkle in the contract between San Diego Unified and its teachers could still allow for teacher layoffs, even as the deadline passes for laying off permanent teachers.

San Diego Unified has avoided layoffs so far and is skating past the statewide March 15 deadline to warn permanent teachers that their jobs could be cut. But probationary teachers, who are in their first two years of teaching, do not need to be notified until April 15 under the union contract, a month later than permanent teachers. Though the school board is still intent on avoiding layoffs, San Diego Unified staffers raised the issue during budget talks this week, saying that probationary teachers might need to be cut if too few teachers take an exit bonus and leave the schools, a key part of the district strategy to thin its staff and its budget without resorting to layoffs.

Nearly 700 probationary teachers are at work in the school district, according to numbers supplied by the human resources department. There are also hundreds of temporary teachers whose contracts automatically expire at the end of the year, and who could be let go without a layoff. Cutting them is still possible — but not popular.

“Our intent is, even though we have probationary teachers, we don’t want to lay off anybody,” said Sam Wong, chief human resources officer for the district. “We are acknowledging that we have this possibility, but it is only an acknowledgment.”


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