Monday, February 27, 2012


By Heather Murtagh, San Mateo  Daily Journal Staff |

February 27, 2012, 05:00 AM  ::   Teachers could soon be getting bad news as school districts start to approve notifications that they may be laid off later this year.

California requires districts to send out preliminary notices to teachers by March 15, many of which will go before school boards starting this week. Often the number is refined before final layoff notices are sent out by May 15. Teachers who are laid off could be asked back over the summer, when the state’s budget becomes clear. Layoff numbers could be high this year as Gov. Jerry Brown’s current state budget proposal funds education at the same rate if tax measures are passed in November. Without it, districts will face mid-year cuts, which they need to budget for now.

On Monday, the Burlingame Elementary School District Board of Trustees will vote to send notifications to 14.5 full-time equivalent positions — including 7.5 elementary school teachers, 1.5 reading specialists and 2.5 physical education specialists.

New employees as well as positions funded through money the district isn’t sure will be there make up the list, explained Superintendent Maggie MacIsaac. MacIsaac added Burlingame is lucky since it has been supported locally through property taxes.

Earlier this month, the San Mateo-Foster City Elementary School District Board of Trustees discussed the possibility of notifying 29.35 FTEs, which partially includes: seven administrators, 3.75 elementary reading teachers, three student achievement facilitators, as well as reducing work for teachers who specialize in art, music and English language development, according to a staff report by Donna Lewis, assistant superintendent of human resources. The board will vote on a finalized number Thursday, March 1.

The state budget plays a big role in the possible cuts.

In the San Bruno Park Elementary School District, for example, the board previously discussed noticing 15 FTEs — 13 elementary teachers and two English/language arts instructors. Superintendent David Hutt explained that, without the proposed November taxes, districts will lose $370 per student or an estimated $970,000 in the case of San Bruno. Planning for that means looking at sending notifications to a “significant” number of teachers, he said.

Similarly, the Millbrae Elementary School District is planning for an estimated $838,790 loss, said Superintendent Linda Luna. With a bare-bones budget already, Luna told parents at Spring Valley Elementary School Friday there is nothing left to cut but people.

In the Hillsborough City School District, the Board of Trustees already approved a $600,000 budget cut plan that will lead to a few layoffs — two teachers due to increasing class sizes, an English language learner specialist, two Spanish teachers, a 12-hour per day computer specialist program and 1.5 positions at Crocker connected to electives. Superintendent Anthony Ranii doesn’t anticipate any additional reductions in staff.

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