March 15, 2013: The ides of March -- that would be today, Julius -- unfortunately coincides with the requirement for public school districts to notify teachers (and other certificated personnel) if their employment for the next school year is dicey. In the last five years -- with a severe recession creating deep wounds in state education budgets -- the ides have been especially brutal.
(Recent legislation, SB 559, authored by state Senator Bob Huff of Diamond Bar would move the notice deadline to June and the final decision deadline to August -- thus isolating the personal reactions to the out-of-school season.)
So, it is -- almost -- nothing but good news (some people are still at risk) that Susan Frey and John Fensterwald report in today's EdSource:
...Reports are still trickling in, but the number could be as low as 2,600 notices statewide – down 87 percent from the 20,000 “pink slips” issued last year and just a 10th of the 26,000 notices issued in 2010, the peak during the recession, according to the California Teachers Association, which tracks the numbers.
The passage of Prop. 30 in November – which prevented a $5 billion midyear cut to K-12 schools and provides more funding for schools during the next seven years – has made it possible for districts to more confidently budget for next year.
“In general, the picture is really good,” said Dean Vogel, at left, president of the California Teachers Association. “We’re taking a breath; we’re very happy about that.”...
The majority of the RIFs (Reduction in Force notices) will be in the Los Angeles Unified School District, as reported by KPCC public radio. More than 2,000 "administrators with teaching credentials" in the LAUSD will receive notices, as will about 90 of Pasadena USD's teachers. Carley Dryden, writing in the Beach Reporter, says 12 elementary school teachers and reading specialists and a music specialist; and the athletic director and a counselor at Mira Costa High School, a total of 24 teachers, will receive RIFs today as Manhattan Beach USD is faced with "daunting deficits." Desert Sands USD (La Quinta/Riverside County) is also pink-slipping two dozen teachers today. Madera USD issued notices to 36 federally-funded special program teachers, the only major school district in the central San Joaquin Valley to do so. According to Barbara Anderson of the Fresno Bee, "officials say it's likely [Madera's RIFs] will be rescinded."
This news succeeds last week's story by Teresa Watanabe in the Los Angeles Times, quoting State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson, "I can say with growing confidence that the worst of California's school funding crisis is behind us." Watanabe reported that "the number of school districts that won't or may not meet their financial obligations...dropped to 124 from 188" ten months ago..."that amounts to 500,000 California students whose districts are no longer in financial peril."
(Watanabe did qualify her story for Los Angeles County, however, adding Walnut Valley USD in Diamond Bar, and Wilsona School District in the Antelope Valley as two districts expected to join Inglewood USD and run out of money "sometime in the next three years." Another 16 districts, including LAUSD, Burbank, Compton, Pasadena and Pomona are on the "might not be able" list -- as in, may have trouble paying their bills between now and 2015.)