School district set to send pink slips to teachers 

Hundreds of teachers in The City will be slapped with tentative pink slips March 15 as the San Francisco Unified School District grapples with a projected two-year, $113 million deficit.

New figures from the SFUSD show that 318 teachers — including 174 at elementary schools, 66 at middle schools and 78 at high schools — will receive pink slips.

The layoff proposal also includes slashing a long list of librarians, nurses, counselors and positions that work in support of teachers. Also, 163 administrative positions are slated to be cut, the district said.

The layoffs are not final. The March deadline for tentative pink slips is required by state law “in order to ensure SFUSD is legally able to lay off teachers if necessary,” the district said.

The district still must strike an agreement with labor unions, await final word on state funding and receive approval for the layoffs from the Board of Education, spokeswoman Gentle Blythe said.

The district also hopes attrition will help reduce layoffs, she said.

Any teacher who notifies the district by March 1 of plans for early retirement can receive an incentive of $4,300, Blythe said.

Last month, Superintendent Carlos Garcia said layoffs — along with cuts to programs and increased class sizes — are unavoidable to close the budget gap. He blamed Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for hitting schools again in his proposed state budget.

Garcia has said the largest portion of the presented cuts — $44 million — would come from labor contracts.

The district avoided layoffs last year by tapping into rainy-day funds and federal stimulus dollars. Some of those funding streams have largely run dry.

The shock of receiving a pink slip, even if they’re tentative, will be tough on employees, said Matthew Hardy, communications director for United Educators of San Francisco, which represents more than 6,000 SFUSD employees.

“It’s going to be very troubling,” he said. “People are rightfully concerned about their jobs.”

The district has a staff of 7,304 that includes 3,414 teachers, data show. It educates some 52,000 students from kindergarten through 12th grade, and is operating on a $597 million budget for the 2009-10 school year.

Cutting back in face of deficit

The SFUSD will send 318 teachers tentative pink slips by March 15.

Elementary schools: 174 positions
Middle schools: 66 positions
High schools: 78 positions

Source: San Francisco Unified School District

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