Alameda school board okays layoff, furlough notices
Alameda’s school board on Thursday okayed layoff notices for dozens of teachers and furlough notices for non-union employees, a move district officials said was necessary for caution’s sake and which one school board member said he expected to largely rescind.
District officials said they were recommending the notices in the unlikely event Tuesday’s passing vote for the Measure A parcel tax isn’t certified by county election officials – and in case the state makes additional school funding cuts. They billed the layoffs and furloughs as a worst-case scenario.
Under state law, the school board must notify teachers and other staffers of a potential layoff or furlough by March 15. The board recently signed off on a thee-year budget plan that included the layoffs and furloughs, though school leaders said they anticipate revising it to include Measure A parcel tax funds.
Superintendent Kirsten Vital said she expected the board to discuss specific items the tax would pay for in April.
The school board okayed layoff notices for teachers who work the equivalent of 63.85 full-time positions for a savings of $1.74 million. The list includes 13 elementary school teachers who would be laid off if the district raised K-3 class sizes to 32 students per teacher – something the district isn’t planning to do – and a host of middle and high school teachers let go as classes are maximized.
They also okayed layoff notices for 40 temporary teachers and layoff or reassignment notices for 13 administrators, and furlough notices for non-union workers that district officials said could save the school district about $281,000.
The board also okayed new rules for the order of layoffs that district officials said would protect younger teachers working at schools serving lower-income families. Some teachers questioned the rules, saying they failed to account for experience teachers had gained serving low-income children in other school districts.
Trustee Trish Hererra Spencer voted against the changes, saying she thought it was unprofessional to vote on new rules on the same night layoff lists were being approved. Hererra Spencer also voted against the teacher layoffs, saying she was concerned they could leave Wood Middle School with fewer educational options than Lincoln Middle School.
Hererra Spencer also voted against the administrator layoff notices and furlough notices, saying she wanted Vital included in the list of those receiving the notification. Board president Ron Mooney said Vital has a separate contract with the board, and he pointed out that she had taken the same furlough days as the rest of the district’s staff this year.
“If we are taking furlough days as a district, I will be taking the same days as everyone else in the district,” Vital said.