Sharon Noguchi writes fair and unbiased reports about education in the bay area and beyond. Last week she wrote an article, Bay Area school districts rescinding layoff notices
which described the various schools attempts to meet budget and staffing needs in these challenging times. She describes what we ironically call "the pink slip dance."
The dance of issuing pink slips then rescinding them is a complex and expensive process mandated by California law. School districts can't lay off teachers for
the following school year without having issued a preliminary notice by March 15 and a final notice by May 15 -- even though they likely won't know their revenue until late summer. This year, even facing a dire state budget, fewer districts issued preliminary notices because many of them said they simply couldn't cut much more from their budgets after years of successive cuts.
The story is more complicated in the Fremont Unified School District, possibly the only district in the state with a no-layoff clause in its teachers contract. As a result, every year the district hires scores of teachers on temporary contracts, then notifies them all that their jobs could be ending. So Fremont sent out 250 teacher pink slips, union President Brannin Dorsey said. The district enrollment is growing, so nearly every year most of those teachers are rehired, although many seek out jobs elsewhere in the meantime.
I am a teacher who reluctantly attends the pink slip dance every year. I currently am employed by a district who, like Fremont, hires teachers at temps then asks us back in August, right before school starts. Our board and administration are proud of the fact that our district didn't issue any pink slips this year. Yet, there are a dozen or so of us who have been told that, as of now, we don't have jobs next year. They need to fill those spots, so the odds are most of us will be called back.
Good teachers are committed to our kids and to our practice. School districts should be committed to good teachers They should help struggling teachers get better and if that is not achievable, then assist them in their departure. The cycle of laying off then rescinding is not healthy for teachers, students school districts and society.
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