Earlier this week we explained how the San Diego Unified School District routinely warns of drastic layoffs but ends up putting far fewer employees, if any, out of work.

A union-backed law requires the district to issue layoff notices by March 15 each year, months before the district knows how much funding to expect from the state, in order to reserve the right to lay them off when the final budget is completed.

The district plans for the worst case and issues more layoff notices than will likely be needed. Then, as the state funding outlook improves, the district often rescinds most layoff notices.

The graphic above illustrates how this process played out last year. In March, San Diego Unified sent more than 1,000 notices to full-time employees. Over the next several months, state legislators and the school district revised their budgets to align with expected funding. By October, the district had rescinded notices four times, leaving just 223 layoffs.

The process is relevant today because the school district is on the verge of again issuing more than 1,000 layoff notices. But this time, the district argues, only labor concessions would avoid massive layoffs.

So far, the teachers union has pushed against the need for concessions by pointing to the district’s past warnings. It argues the district’s current numbers can’t be trusted, months before the state budget picture materialized.

For a more in-depth explanation of school layoffs and an overview of the district’s push to change the March 15 deadline, check out this story by my colleague, Will Carless.

Keegan Kyle is a news reporter for voiceofsandiego.org. He writes about local government, creates infographics and handles the Fact Check Blog. What should he write about next?

Please contact him directly at keegan.kyle@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5668. You can also find him on Twitter (@keegankyle) and Facebook.

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