Journalism won’t die if you donate. Support Voice of San Diego today!

I’ve had a couple more responses to my call for photos of teachers of the year with their pink slips. These are posted below.

I also wanted to clear something else up quickly.

I’ve had a few calls from teachers and parents who are confused by the exact terms of the deal the school district wants to make with unions over layoffs. That confusion focuses on one point: If unions agree to make pay and benefit concessions, can the district guarantee nobody will get laid off?

The simple answer is yes.

School board president John Lee Evans confirmed that if every union signs up to the same deal agreed to by the district’s police officers’ union last month, all 1,633 of the pink slips recently issued will be rescinded.

Let’s take a look at that deal. The district says it needs four key concessions from unions to balance its budget without layoffs:

  • Extend the five unpaid furlough days: Employees have worked five fewer days the last two years, which has saved the district $20 million each year. Those unpaid days off are due to be restored next year. Under the concessions deal, the furloughs would continue another year.
  • Keep salaries flat: As we detailed in this story about the ticking time bomb in school finances, district employees are due to start getting a series of pay increases next year. Those pay raises were promised to employees back in 2010. The district wants employees to put off those increases for at least a year to avoid layoffs.
  • Re-organize healthcare benefits: The district wants to limit its free provision of employee healthcare to one insurance plan: Kaiser Permanente, which is the cheapest option available to the district. Any employee who wants a more expensive plan would have to pay the difference between the cost of that plan and the Kaiser option. (For background on this, read my colleague Sandy Coronilla’s excellent story from Monday.)
  • Additional pay cuts if new taxes don’t pass: The amount of revenue the district will end up getting next year is highly dependent on whether a series of tax measures passes in November. The district wants unions to agree to a further one-year, 6-percent salary cut if those tax measures fail and so-called “trigger cuts” are made to state education spending.

While this four-part plan is the deal the district made with its police officers, we could see a different deal emerge from the district’s negotiations with other unions.

The teachers union, for example, could craft a deal with the district to extend the unpaid days off and put off the salary increases, without opting for the healthcare change or the additional pay cut if the taxes don’t pass.

Here’s the point: District officials say they need all four of the above concessions to keep layoffs at zero. If a union only agrees to some of them, there will still be layoffs, Evans said.

“It’s a very simple math problem,” he said.

So, as we did last week, let’s remind ourselves of what the district’s top pink-slipped teachers look like.

Here is Kelcie Butcher. She started teaching in 2001 and has 11 years of service at San Diego Unified. She teaches at Crawford High School and was named teacher of the year at the Multimedia and Visual Arts School at Crawford in 2005. The same year, she was also a finalist for district teacher of the year:

This is Ashley Franz, a teacher at San Diego High School School of the Arts. She teaches P.E. and dance and last year the California Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance named her rookie PE/Dance teacher of the year for all of San Diego County.

Finally, here’s Dennis Schamp. Schamp, a frequent commenter on our site, is also a member of the board of directors of the San Diego Education Association. He’s been given a pink slip for four of the past five years. Though he’s never been teacher of the year at his school, Lewis Middle School, he’s been nominated for the spot for the past two years.

Please keep your photos and stories coming.

Will Carless is an investigative reporter at currently focused on local education. You can reach him at or 619.550.5670.

Will Carless

Will Carless was formerly the head of investigations at Voice of San Diego.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.