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Remember all those teachers that San Diego Unified has to find jobs for? I got some updated numbers today from the human resources department about where the school district could put them to work.

To recap, there are an estimated 185 teachers whose jobs were eliminated but who still have a right to a position in the school district. The problem cropped up after the school district balanced a golden handshake (which clears out employees) with program cuts (which eliminate jobs but not the employees), leaving it with more teachers than it had jobs for, particularly in the elementary schools. Human resources officer Tim Asfazadour explained the places they could go:

  • Thirty people are being retrained as special education teachers through an agreement with the teachers union funded out of stimulus dollars for special education.
  • Thirty-five teachers will likely find jobs due to enrollment increases or unexpected changes at schools once their doors open. How does San Diego Unified plan for an unplanned change? Asfazadour said that the trend has been for about 35 positions to crop up at schools every year. Despite that pattern, Asfazadour said the jobs can’t be included in the budget because they aren’t guaranteed.
  • Thirteen jobs can be funded through grants, Asfazadour said, largely to support English learners at elementary schools.
  • Eighty-three teachers would be placed if the school district gets federal approval to use stimulus money to keep class sizes small at a select group of schools. (Read up here for background.) If this falls through, the school district is going to need a backup plan.

Those plans add up to 160 jobs — 25 positions shy of having a job for every teacher. Asfazadour called that “pretty close” and said that the school district is still talking about other ideas, including ways to use the teachers in struggling middle schools, but no plans have been prepared yet.

EMILY ALPERT

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