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If you might be laid off, how much notice would you want? Is more better or less? What if you got a warning earlier but it came with less certainty about whether you’d actually lose your job?

This is a big issue facing school districts and teachers across the state, and it’s come to a head here in recent weeks. The San Diego school district and its teachers union agreed that the annual layoff-warning deadline should be pushed from March 15 to May 15, and a local state assemblyman agreed to push legislation to make it so.

Now there’s a twist. The teachers union says it wants something else: a guarantee that there won’t be layoffs. It won’t support the legislation any other way, its president said yesterday.

No can do, the school district says.

“Whaaaaat?” says a representative of the assemblyman.

The union’s “stance is all the more confusing because if the district were to agree to not issue any layoff notices, there would be no need for the emergency legislation to change the layoff deadline,” our Will Carless reports.

District Trustee Scott Barnett offered a take of what happened on his Facebook page: “Apparently [teachers union president Bill] Freeman got out ahead of his own board and probably CTA.”

Chapter and Verse on Library Cutbacks

Feel like checking out a book at 3 p.m. on a Saturday or 6 p.m. on a Thursday? If you’re in San Diego, you can just forget it: you won’t be able to find a public library open at those times.

Even the central library shuts its doors on Saturdays, and it will keep doing that even when the new downtown library opens next year.

For years, cutbacks of library hours have been among the most visible signs of San Diego’s financial troubles. Our library hours are among the most sparse of any major library systems on the West Coast.

How much have library hours gone down, exactly? “You see library hours cut across the city since 2002, some branches losing one-third of their hours,” Councilman and mayoral candidate Carl DeMaio declared this month.

San Diego Fact Check finds that his claim is true. Check out the thorough chart on total library hours across the city we built.

Opinions on School Meals, Student Testing and Transit Future

You have a lot to say these days.

• Reader Kimberley Beatty criticizes a focus on testing in public education. This reminded us of a classic education story: The data war in one local school.

• Jeffrey Olson calls for a moratorium on freeway construction.

• Marc Caron supports cuts to education services like campus cops and free and reduced-price meals to prioritize the classroom needs in local schools.

• Finally, a port commissioner writes in to invite you to listen for yourself to the lack of support for the U-T’s much-ballyhooed and much-mocked (even the mayor joined in) proposal to remake the waterfront.

City May Be $2M in Hole on Property Fees

We’ve been following the saga of the tax that the city imposed on property owners in Golden Hill and South Park, setting off a legal challenge that raised questions about the city’s ability to charge people for services that people might assume would come to them automatically.

Now, it looks like the city may have to cough up $2 million that it collected, the U-T reports.

“When maintenance districts are formed, the voting is weighted based on the assessment that will be charged to an individual property,” the U-T reports. “Part of the district included sections of Balboa Park, and property owners successfully argued that the weight assigned to city-owned land was improperly inflated.”

Quick News Hits

• Rep. Darrell Issa, who represents part of North County, has called a congressional hearing today on this topic “Lines Crossed: Separation of Church and State. Has the Obama Administration Trampled on Freedom of Religion and Freedom of Conscience?”

Gosh, what answer might he be going after? It’s a mystery, but the liberal website salon.com offers a guess. Issa also wants to grill the former head of Countrywide Financial about loans allegedly given to lawmakers.

• Newt Gingrich’s visit to the San Diego Zoo this week, where he met a panda, turned to be comedy gold for David Letterman last night, who had this to say: “Can you imagine this gigantic endangered species? And then there was the panda.”

A U-T reporter following Gingrich through the zoo got a lot of attention for his observations of the scene.

• Art fans: Several local movie theaters are airing “Leonardo Live,” a film of a Leonardo da Vinci exhibit at the National Gallery in London. It won’t be the first time da Vinci has made an appearance here. In 2009, a da Vinci exhibit at San Diego’s Air & Space Museum focused on his many inventions.

• A San Diego State research team in Madagascar has discovered the world’s tiniest chameleon. It’s only a little bit bigger than a matchtip. “Their size suggests that chameleons might have evolved in Madagascar from small and inconspicuous ancestors, quite unlike the larger and more colorful chameleons most familiar to us today,” researcher Ted Townsend tells the Daily Mail.

The team gave the name Brookesia micra to the species. Boo! They should have named it in honor of another species that likes to blend into whatever background it’s in front of: the homo sapien politicianus.

Please contact Randy Dotinga directly at randydotinga@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.

Randy Dotinga

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at randydotinga@gmail.com...

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