5

Kids and teachers, reshuffled

This morning, eight Oakland schools opened with fewer teachers than they had on Friday — and not because of sudden resignations.

There’s a word for the teacher and student reshuffling that happened today: consolidation. It happens when fewer kids enroll at a given school than expected and the school’s budget is in the red. Troy Flint, the district spokesman, said the decision is made centrally, and is done “as a last resort.”

In all, 11 employees were told to pack up their classrooms, and all of their students were sent to other teachers. Last year at this time, five teachers were consolidated. Nine of the displaced teachers were (or will be, according to the teacher contract) given jobs elsewhere in the district; since there weren’t enough jobs for everyone, two teachers working on temporary contracts were placed in the “reserve pool,” according to HR staff.

Reach Academy, a small elementary school on the old Cox campus in East Oakland, was hit the hardest. The school lost three of its teachers.

“It’s not a good thing,” said Elizabeth Ortega, the school clerk. “Thursday, the notice was given out, and Monday the change was made.”

Here is the list of schools, and the number of teachers taken away from each one:

Garfield Elementary School -1
Manzanita Community School (elementary) -1
Brookfield Elementary School -1
Reach Academy (elementary)-3
Lakeview Elementary School -1
Hoover Elementary School -1
Claremont Middle School – 2
Explore Middle School – 1

Katy Murphy

Education reporter for the Oakland Tribune. Contact me at kmurphy@bayareanewsgroup.com.

  • Oakland Teacher

    My sympathies to the students, teachers and communities that were affected. It must have been a very sad day for them.

    I wonder if any of the teachers who were not reassigned to another classroom could be placed in one of the classes who has a long-term substitute in place. Or would that make too much sense and save the district money? Hmmm…

  • Katie

    No, it wouldn’t save the district money because a long-term substitute makes half what the lowest paid teacher makes for doing the same work. Do teachers have any idea whatsoever what substitutes make, even long-term? The only substitutes with benefits are stip subs, and supposedly there aren’t any of those this year according to the sub office, although I know of at least one.

  • arcoiris

    There’s a STIP sub at our school, doing the same work as a regular classroom teacher.(She does get a little extra prep. time). I can’t help but wonder if it was a cost-saving move.

  • Oakland Teacher

    Katie,

    My suggestions was meant only to say that if there are credentialed teachers without a classroom, it would make more sense to put them in classrooms currently manned by a substitute teacher. I know it would only save the cost of the sub, a real pittance compared to other jobs. But it is a savings; even more importantly it would benefit the students who would then have an experienced classroom teacher. And yes, I think many teachers know how little subs are paid. Many of us were substitutes while we were working on our credentials. It is also easily looked up on any district’s salary schedules. On the last contract negotiated (I think it was the last) substitute salaries were at least raised slightly because of a shortage in the applicant pool.

  • Ms. McLaughlin

    If the suddenly RIF’d teachers in the reserve pool have not been moved into those classrooms still in the charge of long-term substitute teachers, it probably has to do with cross-typed credentials.

    For example, someone with a general education (i.e., elementary) credential would probably not be highly qualified, nor legally credentialed, to teach secondary Chemistry or Trigonometry. That person MIGHT be hired on a temporary contract due to science and math being “high need” subjects, but if he or she doesn’t know a lot of Chemistry or Trigonometry, the students are much better served by a long-term substitute teacher who does. And if that sub happens to have a bachelor’s degree in science or math, the 30-day “emergency” limitation can be waived so that the sub can teach that class indefinitely.

    Not a great financial boon for the substitute teacher, who would be doing lesson planning and grading in the evenings for the same pay as subs who waltz blithely out of the building each day with nary a care in the world. But the experience is invaluable, if that’s one’s cup of tea.