By Connie Llanos, Staff Writer | LA Daily News
4/14/2010 -- The Los Angeles Unified school board Tuesday unanimously approved rescinding layoff notices for more than 1,400 teachers, nurses, counselors and librarians, sealing a tentative deal reached between local educators and the district earlier this month.
The board's vote finalizes the agreement that was approved this weekend by more than 80 percent of United Teachers Los Angeles members who voted in favor of taking 12 furlough days over the next two years to save the jobs of pink-slipped colleagues.
The agreement also calls for shortening the school year by a week this year and next.
"This agreement is a true shared solution from every employee in this unit and we are hopeful that by reducing the school year we have made the best decision possible for our students given the choices we had," said LAUSD board president Monica Garcia.
The agreement is expected to save 2,029 positions, but Tuesday's vote only addressed 1,421.
District officials said the remaining positions will be voted on after schools finish their local budgets, which allow them to buy back teaching and other staff positions.
Unless other savings are reached, the district still expects to cut 844 jobs, including dozens of specialized counselors, psychiatric social workers, psychologists and librarians.
Several librarians pleaded with the school board to reconsider the current financial plan calling for the layoff of 59 library aides.
"Once upon a time LAUSD created a position of library aide with the idea of having qualified people to run their libraries," said Ellen Scott, a pink-slipped library aide who works at Riverside Drive Elementary.
LAUSD officials also approved Tuesday changing the school calendars for 18 high schools, including 16 in the San Fernando Valley.
One plan will affect 13 local high schools that will start class this year on Aug. 16 and end on June 3, a schedule that mirrors college calendars and allows students to take finals before winter break.
The second plan puts three East Valley campuses on a calendar that starts Aug. 9 and ends June 23, with the addition of two six-week breaks in between semesters designed to provide extra intervention and help for low-achieving students who will be able to take remedial classes.
And board members also gave the green light to borrowing funds over the next two years to fund several new projects, including solar panel installations at 90 schools. Combined with past authorizations, the vote brings the borrowing amount up to $360 million.
Board members unanimously approved issuing certificates of participation - loans used by districts to fund capital projects and generally paid back from the same funds that pay for teacher salaries, textbooks and supplies - to fund the projects.