10AM - January 6, 2009 - LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Unified School District officials said Tuesday that they may soon send layoff notices to nearly 3,000 nonpermanent teachers, citing a widening budget gap as the reason.
While it is standard policy for the district to send out layoff notices as a precautionary measure, officials from the teachers union and LAUSD administrators say they fear large numbers of teachers will actually lose their jobs for the first time since the mid-1990s.
Permanent teachers have to be notified by March if they will not have a job the following school year, but nonpermanent teachers -- who have worked for two years or fewer -- must only be given 2 weeks notice.
District officials insist the notices do not mean the teachers will lose their jobs, saying that they are just being "very cautious."
"This is not a favored option, but under the current fiscal crisis, we have to consider it," said Vivian Ekchian, the LAUSD's interim chief human resources officer.
The district will first look at 2,290 nonpermanent teachers who have the least seniority and who teach elementary school and secondary school English and math, according to a report prepared for the school board.
Potential layoffs would also target interns and provisional teachers.
The school board will consider the matter at its first meeting of the year, Jan. 13.
Union leaders say if layoffs take place, it will almost certainly mean bigger class sizes and will threaten the steady improvements made in recent years in reducing the dropout rate and improving standardized test scores.