This letter from Superintendent Tony Smith was posted today on the district’s website. The news — that the district plans to issue more notices of possible layoff than it has in years — was buried beneath paragraphs of grim context, but you can tell where it’s going:
The most significant measure concerns advance notification of potential certificated layoffs. These notices, commonly referred to as March 15 notices, do not indicate that the recipient will be laid-off, only that such a possibility exists. This year, because of the tremendous uncertainty and the possibility of deep cuts, we plan to issue a significant number of notices to both certificated and classified staff. This is hard news at a time when schools and districts are already struggling to cope with reduced budgets. California’s budget crisis has forced us to make tough choices; tradeoffs that were unthinkable just a few years ago. It has also created an atmosphere of uncertainty as we wait anxiously for critical information and prepare for a number of alternative scenarios. Through all this, we will do our best to mitigate the impact on children.
The other big news, which is not mentioned in the letter, is that all principals and other “certificated” managers will receive a notice on March 15 that they might be reassigned to another position, and not necessarily in management.
I don’t have the numbers of potential layoff notices; district spokesman Troy Flint said it hasn’t been determined. Flint said notices will not go to all teachers, but that there could be hundreds.
BACKGROUND: State law requires districts to notify certain employees of the possibility of a layoff by March 15. (Final layoff notices are issued by May 15.) It’s been years since the Oakland school district issued a slew of these notices to tenured K-12 teachers — at least, it hasn’t happened in the four years I’ve been covering OUSD.
The district posted a detailed explanation of the kinds of March 15 notices that go out. As I’ve reported, temporary and untenured teachers have received release notices in recent years, as have adult education teachers. (Note: New teachers without tenure can be let go for any reason; it’s often unrelated to the budget.)
What have you heard? Do you agree with the district’s decision to tell all principals they might be reassigned to other positions next year?