Legislation Aims to Change Teacher Layoff Notification

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Imagine having the same job for 20 years and thinking for four or five months every year that it’s in jeopardy, then you get a big “never mind” from the boss.

That’s what thousands of teachers across the state face every year and everybody wants it to stop.

But how?

By March 15 of last year, nearly 20,000 teachers were facing a trip from the classroom to the unemployment line – pink slipped by districts uncertain about their budgets.

For all the details up for debate in Sacramento’s recent closure of seven schools – one fact not in question is that district leaders, like those all across the state, are up against a March 15 legal deadline to notify teachers who may be laid off.

Most given notice by that deadline get called back year after year, classroom veteran Mike Shriver says it’s a roller coaster he’s seen shake a school.

“If they get offered a job somewhere else, they’re gonna look. Then they’re gonna go somewhere else,” said Shriver.

That means California could be causing stress and losing teachers because of a deadline that districts feel is unrealistic.

“We just don’t know by March 15th what our budget situation’s going to look like,” said Sacramento City Unified superintendent Jonathan Raymond.

Assembly Bill 559 by Senator Bob Huff hopes to change all that by shifting the notification calendar and moving the first deadline to June.

Under the plan, final notification would be delivered in August.

For districts balancing dollars against all their other goals, such a change could help a lot.

By June…

“The big thing that happens is the governor puts out his budget first and then the legislature has to take action and a lot can change between…between that process,” said Raymond.

More time for districts…but some feel it’s just not feasible for teachers to find out in August that they’ll really be unemployed in a few weeks.

“It would be hard to get hired in August for a permanent position.  You’d have to probably go in as a sub or do something else until you find a permanent position,” said Shriver.

The California Teachers Association shares some of those concerns, even though it hasn’t taken a formal position on this bill as of yet.

Leaders acknowledge the stress of yearly pink slips, but sent a written statement to FOX40 saying  “it would be more cruel to layoff teachers with less notice.”

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