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San Diego Unified is warning hundreds more teachers that they could lose their jobs than it earlier expected, upping the number of pink slips from an estimated 1,078 to more than 1,300.

District spokesman Bernie Rhinerson said the numbers jumped because the school board pushed the district to pare $4 million more from administration at the 11th hour. Some of those managers can go back to the classroom, which means that teachers lower on the totem pole lose their jobs.

The school board did not specify which managers should be cut. It left it up to Superintendent Bill Kowba to figure out how to squeeze another $4 million from the district administration. But the result is that cutting from the top ends up putting teachers at the bottom out of work. District officials said when a top administrator’s job is cut, they need to issue many warnings down the line because there are many jobs that administrator could bump down into.

The teachers union isn’t happy. Union executive director Craig Leedham wrote in an email to the school board:

THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO WAY THIS IS ACCURATE. This list of 1339 NAMES is an increase of over 24% from the list sent us Friday, and well beyond the number of layoffs approved by the Board last Thursday. … There is, however, no excuse for intentionally misleading us this way, withholding important and time-sensitive information, and making these types of gross errors considering the gravity of these notices.

Rhinerson said the numbers would have stayed the same if the school board had not voted for more management cuts at the last minute. “We’re not trying to hide anything,” he said. “We’re just trying to accomplish the financial savings that the board approved. It’s a very complicated system.”

Needless to say, the school administrators aren’t happy about this turn of events either. Jeannie Steeg, executive director of the union that represents principals and other school administrators, complained in a letter to the superintendent that they couldn’t get information about the sudden cut:

I have never witnessed, in my 42 years with the district, such a mess! Bruce (McGirr, director of the administrators union) and I are the two who are receiving the calls, complaints, e-mails, etc. from our members asking a lot of questions, for which we have no answers.

I’m guessing that this wasn’t what the school board had in mind when they voted to cut administration. I’ll update the blog when I hear back from board about the boost in pink slips.

Correction: Based on my misunderstanding, I originally wrote that Rhinerson said higher management salaries caused the need to send more warnings to teachers. I apologize for the error.

Please contact Emily Alpert directly at emily.alpert@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5665 and follow her on Twitter: twitter.com/emilyschoolsyou.

Emily Alpert

Emily Alpert was formerly the education reporter for Voice of San Diego.

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