SAN DIEGO–A unified Board of Trustees voted 5-0 tonight to bring back close to 500 teachers who had been facing possible layoffs, including many physical education (PE) and music teachers.
In all, about 50% of the teachers who received preliminary pink slips in March will be back in schools this fall. Most of the cancelled layoff notices are due to a successful early retirement program, which was also approved unanimously at the Board meeting this evening.
Two months ago, in March, the district mailed preliminary layoff notices to approximately 952 teachers. Some 371 of those were final notices sent to probationary teachers who had been with the district for a short time. Of the remaining 581 pink slipped teachers, the Board voted tonight to send final layoff notices to just 96 of them. In all, 485 teachers, or 51%, of the 952 teachers thought to be leaving the district will, in fact, return to school this fall.
Among the returning educators are the PE teachers at both Birney Elementary School and Crawford High School, and the Music teacher from Pacific Beach Middle School. Students supporting all three of those educators had testified before the school board in a bid to restore their teacher’s positions. In addition to tonight’s 485 rescinded pink slips, last month the board voted to shelve a plan to lay off a portion of the district’s Library teachers.
In total, 528 teachers took advantage of an early retirement plan put forward by school officials in an effort to reduce layoffs. The number of retirees was about 14% higher than the 463 retirements projected by outside consultants. In a typical year, about 150 San Diego Unified teachers decide to retire. The 528 early retirements resulted in a significant reduction in the number of layoffs, as all but 10 of the retirees will be replaced.
San Diego Unified continues to face an expected budget shortfall of $124.4 million for the coming school year and is legally required to approve a balanced budget by the end of next month. For that reason, the district still plans to move forward with significant workforce reduction measures. Next week, on May 16, the school board is expected to vote on the district’s third interim budget. That budget update will be the first since the Governor announced his own revised budget – the May Revise, earlier today. Numbers in the Governor’s budget are not expected to significantly impact the San Diego Unified School District’s budget outlook for 2017-2018, as the district has been running a structural deficit of more than $60 million for each of the past 5 years.