"Due to the lack of clear information from Sacramento, the need for stability at schools in the second semester, and the high level of interest in a retirement incentive program, there will be no mid-year teacher layoffs."- Superintendent Ramon Cortines
LAUSD CHIEF SCRAPS TEACHER LAYOFF PLANS
by Howard Blume and Jason Song | LA Times OnLine
10:26 AM, Friday January 23, 2009
The Los Angeles Unified School District has scrapped contingency plans to lay off as many as 2,300 teachers, a move that puts the district into greater financial jeopardy but would spare thousands of children from classroom disruptions. The decision was made by Supt. Ramon C. Cortines after lengthy consultations and announced moments ago.
Last week, the school board voted to give Cortines the authority to send pink slips to newly hired teachers, who can be dismissed on 14 days' notice. If Cortines had followed through, many students would have lost familiar teachers in mid-semester. Some classes could have swelled in size; others would likely be taught by replacement teachers who had been bumped out of non-teaching positions.
Cortines decided the resulting impact on instruction in the district would have been unacceptable.
"We will still need to make extremely difficult cuts, but at least we can ensure that the critical connection between our teachers and students will not be disrupted this school year," Cortines said in a memo to board members.
Cortines' decision was buttressed by a strong response to the possibility of an early retirement incentive. If teachers follow through at the end of the year, the district could save millions of dollars. And it would then need the less-expensive, less-experienced teachers now at risk of being laid off.
Cortines' action did not apparently require the school board's approval because it essentially continued the status quo. Other austerity measures, such as a freeze on many consultant contracts, remain in force, and additional cost-saving moves remain on the table. And the picture for next year -- when new cuts must be made -- could prove even bleaker if the district slides into a deficit.
URGENT: No midyear cuts, says LAUSD
By Melissa Pamer, Staff Writer | LA Newspaper Group
Posted: 01/23/2009 10:40:24 AM PST
Los Angeles Unified School District announced this morning that it will not cut teaching positions midyear, a drastic and unpopular move that had been discussed earlier this month in response to state budget cuts.
"Due to the lack of clear information from Sacramento, the need for stability at schools in the second semester, and the high level of interest in a retirement incentive program, there will be no mid-year teacher layoffs," Superintendent Ramon Cortines said in a statement.
The Board of Education voted last week to approve laying off almost 2,300 teachers, most of them in elementary schools.
At the time, Cortines said he was seeking alternatives to the cuts, which would have been based on seniority.
The district has already cut more than $400 million from its budget this year, and is looking to cut another $400 million now, depending on what happens with budget negotiations in Sacramento.
United Teachers Los Angeles had vowed to fight the layoffs, and the union has planned a march in downtown Los Angeles next week to protest state and local budget cuts.
More than 2,000 certificated employees are interested in early retirement, which would help the district financially, Cortines said in the statement.