Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent John Deasy (center) is seen speaking with a student in a classroom in this undated file photo. (KABC Photo)
Thursday, February 14, 2013 LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A last-minute move saved hundreds of Los Angeles Unified School District employees from getting pink slips.
LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy and the district came up with a solution just as the Board of Education was scheduled to vote on layoff notices for more than 200 school counselors, psychologists and social workers.
It suggests funding the $20 million intended to pay for staff jobs from the district's general fund, rather than individual school budgets.
"I could not possibly support sending layoff notices at this given time," Deasy said in a statement. "These support services personnel are vital to the health and well-being of our students."The board approved the amendment with a 7-0 vote, saving 194 full-time jobs and 14 part-time jobs.
"We have and will continue to support our district employees so they can teach, inspire, support and create a successful learning experience for every student," Deasy said, "whether they are based at schools or the central office."
- The agenda item to authorize the mailing of RIF notices (“pink slips”) was inexplicably withdrawn at the very last minute. .The “amendment” was to withdraw the proposal and fund the positions from the general fund budget. Agenda item #37 was pulled from the agenda with no discussion or debate – just the shadow of the done-deal,. (In fairness to abc: the feeling in the room was “What just happened?”)
- It would be unfair to say that Dr. Deasy accepted this turn of events kicking-and-screaming – but if you look at the tape I think you’ll agree his demeanor was something approaching whining.
- The reason it was pulled is pure politics and a modicum of boardsmanship. The votes were simply not there. One board member was absent.* Board president Garcia – who supported the item and is a candidate for reelection – had been excoriated for her position in a community meeting the evening before.
- All the "I could not possibly support sending layoff notices at this given time," is balderdash. The item was on the agenda, put there with the superintendent’s acquiescence. The mailing of preliminary RIF notices “at this time” was part of his budget plan and budget priorities. His agenda.
- The semantic two-step this: Notices mailed “at this time” are not “lay-off notices” – they are the first step in the lay-off process.
- Deasy’s intent was-and-is make hiring Psychiatric Social Workers, PSA Counselors, Teacher Librarians, etc. a school site option. He did say something like “I can’t imagine schools not hiring these people” – but let’s face it: Dr. Deasy is not a very imaginative guy. Decision makers at most schools don't have a choice of librarians and nurses and social workers and counselors and assistant principals and a tech person to keep the computers working
The choices are connected by “or”!
The agenda, gentle readers,is to make most employees subject to annual RIF notices in March and lay-off or rehire in June - with the decisions made locally by administrators and school site councils based on the budget and market forces. It’s one of those best practices learned from “right-to-work” states and well managed Charter Management Organizations.
* She showed up within minutes of the item being dropped.