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More than 100 educators in their first few years at San Diego Unified will get warnings that they might lose their jobs this summer, according to teachers union President Camille Zombro, who was notified of the number today.
The school board finalized the plan behind closed doors Tuesday after months of deliberating over how many teachers, if any, would receive the dreaded warnings. Zombro said the vote was 4 to 1, with school board President Richard Barrera casting the only dissenting vote.
The warnings let a teacher know that they might be out of work this summer. California school districts have to send notices to teachers if they want to lay them off later. If they don’t, they can’t dismiss them. Local schools often send out hundreds of such warnings, then reverse them when budget predictions improve, but the warnings alone can damage morale and prod teachers to leave and seek other jobs.
The cuts are part of a plan to patch up an estimated $87 million deficit for next school year, a result of state budget cuts that have pinched the school district three years in a row. San Diego Unified has been planning since February to thin the ranks of its teachers to help survive the budget crunch, but school district officials had been analyzing whether retirements and moves would let them avoid layoffs.
While school districts usually have to send out those warnings to teachers by the middle of March, the San Diego teachers union has an unusual agreement that allows the school district to warn its newest teachers later. This year, the union allowed the district to delay the warning date even further.
Zombro argued that the school district did not need to send out the warnings because the job cuts could be absorbed less painfully through retirements and dismissing hundreds of temporary employees, who don’t have a right to a job after the end of the school year.
“There is absolutely no need to lay off,” Zombro said.
— EMILY ALPERT