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Oakland principals get layoff counts

On Friday, I posted the districtwide list of potential layoff notices that will likely be delivered next week to more than 500 teachers.

Today, each principal learned how his or her staff would be affected, based on seniority lists provided by the district. I talked to one today who said all but one of his 16 teachers (a few are teaching on temporary contracts) will receive a March 15 notice. Yesterday, another principal told me she expected at least 11 of her 16 teachers would be pink-slipped.

It seems like the schools that are being hit the hardest are those that are new and/or those that experience high staff turnover as it is. This, of course, could lead to even higher attrition; even if a teacher’s layoff notice is rescinded, she might end up taking another job in the meantime.

How can a school recover from such a destabilizing event? Should there be safeguards in place to protect schools from losing more than a certain number of teachers? What is the situation at your school?

Note: I’ve requested a report with the number of layoff notices, by school.

Katy Murphy

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

  • livegreen

    Are teachers at charters affected in the same way? If they’re not covered by the OEA then does seniority apply or not?

  • Katy Murphy

    Seniority rules don’t apply to charter schools — that is, unless the teachers unionize and seniority becomes part of their collective bargaining agreement.

  • livegreen

    So how or in what order do Charter school teachers get pink slips vs OEA teachers?

  • Trish Gorham

    The situation described is entirely of the District’s making.

    OUSD:
    1. closed schools with balanced staffs throughout Oakland, and opened “new” small schools that banked on the low salaries and herculean efforts of idealistic young teachers for success.
    2. made a career track in Oakland non-competitive, both financially and professionally, driving teachers trained in Oakland to other districts.

    OUSD is over-reaching (seems to be the new thing) in sending out this number of pink slips.

    But seniority is the only objective way to determine who receives notice. It is clear, that with seniority a non-issue, senior teachers would be targeted because they’re too expensive. Is this how we build commitment to the profession and to Oakland students?

    Ways to avert this situation in the future:

    1. Results Based Budgeting is a farce. Stop making individual sites pay for the salaries and benefits of its teachers. The District needs to have one average figure that schools pay for each teacher. Then, the expense of a teacher would not be a hindrance to hiring or retaining.

    2. And most importantly, demand of the local, state, and federal governments that they ensure an equal education for all.

  • Trish Gorham

    Charter schools are not part of this equation. Each charter site hires and fires at will.

  • Catherine

    While I agree with teachers being able to move around to schools – particularly moving from a school in which you have taught for a long time in a challenging environment and there is an opening in a less challenging environment, HOWEVER, I have friends who have signed on for a five year commitment to work in schools with traditionally 50% or more turnover. They will be given layoff notices – they’ve pretty much been told by the principal. Other teachers who do not choose to teach in this school – indeed many who chose to leave but have seniority will get a position and the committed teachers will be gone.

    In two or three years those teachers who don’t really want to be there will be gone and a new crop of teachers will be hired. We wonder why students in the flats do not learn. Look on Greatschools.org and you will find the average years of teaching in the state to be 18 or so years, at this school the average is under 7 years.

    I believe if teachers with seniority – and I may be in the same boat – move and take over a position of another teacher they should commit to five years. It is the only way we will build stability.

    I think that we really don’t understand as a community and a city how strongly this affects all of us. I recently sat on a jury trial. We ended with a hung jury on a strong armed robbery case. The defense used included the statistics of the poor, and in some cases, non-existent education with a series of substitutes. This man had only two years of his education which was in a classroom with a credentialed teacher and no long term substitutes. We get no tax revenue from him – for employment, home ownership, sales tax and so on. In addition, we pay for his trial, his clothing, his medical care, his housing and his attorney. We had 14 people (12 jurors and two alternates) who were not able to work during the trial.

    In the end, we had jurors who bought the no education, among other childhood conditions as a reason for the need to steal.

    It is all incredible insanity.

  • J.R.

    “I believe if teachers with seniority – and I may be in the same boat – move and take over a position of another teacher they should commit to five years. It is the only way we will build stability”.

    This is a great idea, this will help with the problem of no stability.

    I also agree that there is incredible insanity and stupidity present in society at large(this nation has been dumbed down and it reminds me of the movie “Idiocracy”).

  • livegreen

    So OUSD Charter schools aren’t bound affected by the teacher layoffs? This doesn’t sound right.

  • Katy Murphy

    Charter schools aren’t part of the larger staffing system. Each one operates independently and manages its own budget. If a charter figures it can’t make budget with its current staffing levels, it’ll lay off whomever its administration decides to lay off.

  • Katy Murphy

    I should note that principals received seniority lists and cutoff dates today, which they referenced to determine how their staff would be affected. I believe they will receive official March 15 lists, with names, later in the week.

  • J.R.

    “principals received seniority lists and cutoff dates today, which they referenced to determine how their staff would be affected”.

    That’s so nice the principals don’t even have to anguish over keeping their best teachers because the money is drying up, it’s all done by date of hire. That is so perfectly logical

  • Trish Gorham

    JR #11.-
    Yes, it’s quite reassuring that principals won’t have to anguish over whether to let go of their most expensive teachers or their least expensive. They don’t have to anguish over keeping their friend or the teacher they do not personally like. They don’t have to anguish over whether to let go of the sole breadwinner in a family or the woman whose husband has a good job. They don’t have to anguish over whether to let go of the squeaky wheel or the quietly submissive teacher.

    These are some of the factors that would determine dismissal in the absence of seniority.

    Decry the misplaced budget and revenue priorities that created this situation, not the system which prevents capricious decisions.

  • Oakland Teacher

    Trish – thanks for being the voice of reason up here. Everything you say is absolutely true. Your clear explanations may get through to a few people; at least they help those of us without your clarity feel like the truth has been said.

    The whole situation is sad. I feel terrible for people about to receive March 15 letters, but unions and seniority are not the cause of those letters or the budget crisis.

    The small silver cloud is that so many people leave OUSD every year that many of the people who get notices will still have positions if they are able to “wait it out”. My concern is whether they will lose their health insurance in the meantime (could this be behind the massive/overdone layoff) and whether schools will be completely destabilized. We do know that the cuts will result in large class sizes and a huge cut in services to students.

  • J.R.

    Red herring alert!!!!!! It really looks like the adults(the taxpaying parents and PTA)must provide oversight at school site level because the kiddies(admin and staff) can’t get along and don’t trust each other. The funny thing is principals are tossed out all the time, and teachers never are(at most teachers are shuffled to a different school). Principals face much more accountability than teachers do(the statistics bear this out) and yet you think principals are going to do something that could jeopardize their job, just to hire a friend? It makes no sense! The argument that districts will fire expensive teachers and hire new teachers to save money if tenure is dissolved, is at least remotely plausible.This argument about principals whims is just “fishy”(double entendre intended”.

  • Livegreen

    JR, You might be right, you might be wrong. But we’re not going to change the entire system right now. We’ve got much bigger problems just holding onto any teachers. Central HQ has got to take more cuts. The question is, are the Board & Dr.Smith going to support cutting Schools, or Bureaucracy?

    This will have political implications in future elections as well…

  • J.R.

    Livegreen,
    We should have changed the system decades ago, and very soon we will be forced by economic pressure to change it. The bureaucracy will get the money because they are they ones who make those decisions and they won’t get rid of themselves(that’s a given).

  • decimated

    Seniority is bad. Some awesome teachers will be bumped by ineffective veterans. This is criminal. No wonder collective bargaining is on its way out–it’s full of abuses and it protects ineffective people.

  • Turanga_teach

    Trish Gorham,
    EXACTLY. Thank you for that.

  • Hills Parent

    Trish, you bring up some interesting points, but still, good teachers need to stay on regardless of seniority and less good or bad or ineffective or deadweight teachers need to go.

    Would you really want your own child taught be an ineffective teacher with seniority – sacrifice a year of learning – for this cause? Wouldn’t you prefer your own child to have a wonderful, effective, amazing teacher regardless of seniority status? Collectively, don’t you want the children to learn from the best the school has to offer rather than the person who has been there the longest? Longest doesn’t mean best!

    Sometimes the veterans are great, but at our school, some of the amazing teachers are newer ones. The one or two teachers who people consistently don’t want are two of the veterans who we will be stuck with thanks to seniority. That just doesn’t work in today’s world and I can’t believe there are still people who defend this system.

  • Another frustrated parent

    I have to agree with Hills Parent. While teachers, like any worker, deserve protection from capricious bosses, what I see happening at my school is some really wonderful new teachers getting pink-slipped while a few of the really ineffective teachers are going to stick around for yet another year.

    The system needs to find a way to retain it’s good teachers whether they are old or new. Why would any bright young person choose to teach if they know they’re likely to get fired after their first year?

  • J.R.

    Trish,
    Did you ever hear of the words “personal responsibility”, part of what that means is to have your own destiny in your own hands(succeed or fail).It’s not anybody else’s job or duty to worry about you, that’s your worry(the government should not be involved in “make work” jobs just so people wont be on the street)again thats personal responsibility. To illustrate: a gardener in the CSU system makes 3.5K-4.5K per month(per their salary sched.), an average gardener in the private sector averages about the same or a little more(dep. on number of clients).
    http://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Gardener/Hourly_Rate

    These are the big differences:
    1. Healthcare and other benefits, which in the public sector the taxpayers pay(and soon won’t be able to cover at all), and in the private sector, the gardener pays for himself from what he earns.
    It is very inefficient to pay money when an employee must be paid(a living wage) when there is very little or nothing to do.It is much more efficient in the private sector when the gardener moves on to the next client after he finishes with the previous client. There is no idle time, and no extra expenditures for benefits. The school system should be contracting out companies to handle maintenance with a squad of district employees that can handle “on the spot cleaning duties as necessary. There is so much waste in the system because so many people are paid more than the job is actually worth. Are teachers worth the money(oh YES the good ones are worth much more)but they will never see it because that money gets frittered away). If you want to be mad, then place your anger where it belongs(not the taxpayers).

  • Harold

    @19,20,21 — Get over it!

    California is not Wisconsin.

    Q. Who wants to get rid of:
    Workers Comp?
    40 hour work week?
    Child labor laws?
    Paid sick leave?
    Sexual Harassment provisions?
    Grievance?
    Maternity leave?

    Unions made all these protections possible!!

  • J.R.

    “GET over it”? Not likely!We would much rather get it over with instead, and we will. I will ask again, if unions are so needed and so great in this present day why are union dues confiscated from the taxpayers whether or not the person is a member? Now is the time for taxpayer’s grievance’s to be heard. This attitude of entitlement is ruinous, and it must stop.

  • Works at Oakland School

    Katy, do TFA teachers get pink-slipped too or are they guaranteed employment? Maybe just after their second year when their contract is over? I was wondering because at my school there are some great TFAs and some not so great veterans. I’d hate to see them go.

  • Katy Murphy

    The only teachers exempt from this process are credentialed special education and bilingual teachers. Newer teachers, regardless of how they came to OUSD are more likely to receive March 15 notices.

  • gordon danning

    JR:

    All members of the bargaining unit must pay the portion of union dues that go to collective bargaining, because all bargaining unit members benefit from bargaining. That is simple fairness, and any other arrangement would obviously be subject to fatal free rider problems.

    Only union members pay the portion of union dues that goes to lobbying.

  • Ms. J.

    Does that mean that anyone who has a BCLAD is exempt?

  • Hills Parent

    @ Harold. Wanting to get rid of ineffective teachers? The deadweight? That’s something I will never let go of and no parent should have to! Either be effective or be dismissed.

    This fight is only just beginning and my bet is at some point seniority will be lost and/or there will be a procedure put into place where ineffective teachers can be dismissed. I’m talking about the lowest 5-10% of teachers – the bottom of the barrel.

  • Katy Murphy

    Ms. J – In short, yes, though they could be reassigned if they’re not using their credential.

    Troy Flint explains:

    All BCLAD employees are exempted from receiving potential layoff notices. BCLAD employees are exempted from receiving notices and any reassignment that might occur IF they are using their credential presently. If not, they would still avoid receiving a layoff notice, but could be subject to reassignment, should that occur.

    Speaking of the budget: The Mercury News posted a story this afternoon about tax extension negotiations — and concerns about environmental trade-offs Brown could be asked to make to get the measure on the ballot. http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_17585501

  • J.R.

    Gordon,
    Per thousand dollars of tax funded dues(which are taken out of the check), an individual has to pay no less than $700(they are only getting rebated $300 if they choose not to join the union), and if they don’t pay dues the union can and have terminated the teacher. This revenue stream(tax funded) is being used for political purposes which haven’t been of much benefit to children. Too much education funding gets diverted, and that’s a big part of the structural problem of the education system.Confiscating someones else’s money is OK up to a point, but this has gone too far for decades now.

    http://www.city-journal.org/html/7_2_how_teachers.html

    http://www.businessinsider.com/head-of-nj-teachers-union-got-paid-over-twice-as-much-as-the-governor-2010-9

    http://www.edreform.com/Archive/?Truth_in_Spending_The_Cost_Of_Not_Educating_Our_Children

  • J.R.

    Hills Parent,
    I fervently hope you are right, because we are battling against people who don’t want effective change, and they are using our own money against us to do it.

  • Gordon Danning

    JR:

    You realize, of course, that none of the links you cite support your argument that the mandatory portion of union dues are used for political purposes. But I don’t imagine you care.

  • gee yu

    funny isn’t it that none of the 60+ special ed teachers hired can’t be fired because of a MOU with new teacher project… this funding is close to a million……I saw some pending actions that were discussions in minute notes that were very revealing.. if the board would stop looking for recruiting,and selection head hunters on the east coast…. we might have save some of the other five year contracted teachers???? enjoy the reading!!!!

    File #: 10-1593 Version: 1 Name: Amendment No. 2 – The New Teacher Project -
    Programs for Exceptional Children
    Type: Agreement or Contract Status: Passed
    File created: 6/14/2010 In control: Finance and Human Resources Committee
    On agenda: Final action: 6/23/2010
    Approval by the Board of Education of Amendment No. 2 to the Memorandum of Understanding between District and The New Teacher Project, New York, NY, for the latter to provide recruiting, selection, and high quality training to practitioners to serve as Content Seminar leaders and Field Supervisors, in the Programs for Exceptional Children for the school year of July 1, 2010 through June 30, 2011, serving 50-65 participants, in an additional amount not to exceed $294,776.00, increasing the Contract from an amount not to exceed of $309,391.00 to $604,167.00.

    File #: 10-1811 Version: 1 Name: Amendment No. 3 – Memorandum of Understanding
    - The New Teacher Project
    Type: Agreement or Contract Status: Committee General Consent Report
    File created: 8/2/2010 In control: Finance and Human Resources Committee
    On agenda: Final action:
    Enactment date: Enactment #:
    Title: Approval by the Board of Education of Amendment No. 3 of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the District and The New Teacher Project (TNTP), for the latter to recruit, select and train 40-50 new teachers, from the previous stated 75-85 new teachers, to fill critical shortage subject areas, for the period October 1, 2009 through September 30, 2010, at a cumulative cost not to exceed $620,883.00.

    File #: 10-2834 Version: 1 Amendment No. 3 – The New Teacher Project – Programs for Exceptional Children
    Type: Agreement or Contract Status: Committee, Unfinished Business
    File created: 1/3/2011 In control: Finance and Human Resources Committee
    On agenda: 1/18/2011
    Approval by Board of Education of Amendment No. 3, Professional Services Contract between the District and The New Teacher Project, for the latter, through the Oakland Practitioner Teacher Program, to also serve as trainer and certifier of intern Education Specialists, pursuing credential and training in Mild-Moderate and Moderate Severe – Special Education, at no additional cost, for the period of September 10, 2008 through August 31, 2013. All other terms and conditions of the Contract remain in full force and effect.

    Minutes notes: Vernon Hal, Assistant Superintendent, Business & Operations, said this item was sponsored by the Human Resources Department New Teacher Project. Chairperson Kakishiba asked if we have multiple contracts with the New Teacher Project? Mr. Hal said it might be a multi-year contract because every year it comes back up for the actual cost based on the number of teaching positions that we are going to ask them to fill for us. Chairperson Kakishiba said it appears they are doing other work for us in the area of recruiting for math and science teachers and he does not know if this is part of a contract given that it is Amendment No. 3. We have been looking at teacher retention during the past year and the data from staff indicates a high teacher turnover among new teachers. The issue about our recruitment contracts with the New Teacher Project is about their relative efficacy around retention and if this represents an extension for two years or more. His recollection of the discussion before the end of the last fiscal year was that any further extension or renewal of a contract with some of our recruitment providers would be seen as part of a larger context of the District’s systemic approach to recruitment retention. He does not know about a time limit for this item which began in September 2008. It might be time sensitive, but it would be important to have a fuller conversation around the larger context. Mr. Hal stated we have had a conversation about what is the bigger perspective in terms of retention and what is the role of our partners? We have some multiple year partners and some of them have multiple year MOUs; what does it look like in terms of the bigger frame? We can have a bigger discussion at the next meeting. Secretary Rakestraw said the amendment is a request for additional provision of service in connection with the Special Education Program. Mr. Hal stated, as we have been talking about retention, we have some issues with filling Special Education positions. This may be an adjunct to that bigger frame. Chairperson Kakishiba asked his board colleagues to table this to the next committee meeting. Mr. Hal said Human Resources staff would be asked to attend the next Committee Meeting to answer questions. Chairperson Kakishiba asked Secretary Rakestraw to calendar the two items as Unfinished Business items on the next agenda.

    File #: 10-2844 Version: 1 Name: Oakland Alliance of Community Partnerships – Teach Tomorrow In Oakland
    Type: Agreement or Contract Status: Board, New Business
    File created: 1/3/2011 In control: Board of Education
    On agenda: 1/18/2011
    Title: Approval by the Board of Education of a Memorandum of Understanding between the District and Oakland Alliance of Community Partnerships (OACP), for the latter to manage the Transition to Teaching Grant under the Teach Tomorrow In Oakland Program within the District’s Department of New Teacher Support and Development, to recruit, retain, and support local teachers who reflect the diversity of District’s students, for the term August 1, 2009 through June 30, 2014, in an amount not to exceed $450,000.00 annually during the term.

    Minutes note:
    Director Spearman questioned an Application for Preliminary credential for someone to teach in Special Education, especially at United for Success. She said every teacher at that school has to be Highly Qualified. If we are asking for Preliminary Credential, that means someone is not qualified and we are trying to make an exception. Secretary Rakestraw said this item is a Human Resources credentialing issue. General Counsel Minor said she rarely saw these coming forward in the 18 months that she has been here. She is wondering what the background is. If it is time sensitive, she would recommend that it go forward without a recommendation; then at the Board meeting on January 12, staff will be in attendance to answer questions. Director Spearman questioned the placement of an inexperienced teacher in a school of high need.

  • J.R.

    Gordon,

    Those links are generally related to this sentence toward the bottom:

    “Too much education funding gets diverted, and that’s a big part of the structural problem of the education system”.

    So yeah, it’s related to the whole fiscal nightmare, end of story.

  • Turanga_teach

    Hi Gee Yu,
    A little confused about the point you’re trying to make.
    a) Spearman’s question as written makes, honestly, no sense. A “Preliminary” credential IS highly qualified–it’s in fact significantly more “highly qualified” than the intern credentials OTPT supports, because it means the teacher has COMPLETED, not just enrolled in, a teacher preparation program including supervised student teaching.

    b) special education isn’t exempt from March 15th letters because of any MOU that I know of–it’s exempt because special education is a shortage area EVERYWHERE and Oakland burns its special education teachers out at a rate even above the horrific burnout rate we see on the state and national level. We just don’t end out with the problem of too many special education teachers.

  • gordon danning

    Gee Yu, and everyone:

    Turanga_teach is correct. The contract provisions re: consolidations, which I believe applies to layoffs in general, states that “[f]actors to be considered” when selecting teachers to be consolidated are: “Credential and legal qualifications.” Then, “[a]ll of the above factors being equal, seniority in the District shall be given preference.” Moreover, “at the secondary level, major/minor fields and highly specialized skills relating to the subject area shall be considered.”

  • gee yu

    have u gone on ed join (today)
    OUSD is still hiring teachers!!!!!
    how come??

    #35 the point is

    OUSD paid out alot of $$ for teacher recruiting to an east coast co called NEW TEACHER PROJECT, OUSD could have instead sent out job opening announcemants at the rate of 42 cents a mailing to our local ca colleges… ousd has hr staff and part of their job is to hire/recruit….ed join is also a vehicle OUSD uses and how much does OUSD pay for that service toooo??

  • Harold

    @#37 – WOW! What is OUSD doing wasting money, recruiting across the country while sending out 500+ pink slips?

    What is our School Board doing about this?

    Where are those stats that Troy Flint promised us, months ago?

  • gee yu

    Harold you got it
    OUSD keeps telling us one thing and they do another….OUSD sent out early retirement incentive packets to ousd teachers in january..these packet are
    controlled by an orgination called public agency retirement services (go to their web site and you will learn alot form their december 2010 hot sheet).. teachers, staff, and principals did take these packets but OUSD has not mentioned this in their lay off equation how come??

  • mali

    As a former OUSD teacher, I can attest to the frustration. I was one of many who was let go after my first year of teaching. I have also been applying to edjoin OUSD job postings for the last two years, without much luck. The truth is teachers perform a necessary function- when you lay off teachers, you have to hire a replacement. My strong suspicion, which has been confirmed by my own experience, is that the school districts are laying of the more experienced and tenured teachers (aka the more expensive ones) in order to replace them with Teach For America candidates, because they are more cost effective. Only in public education does having a higher degree become a liability….(why hire someone with a masters/doctorate to teach an elementary class when you can get two briefly trained Teach for America candidates at the same price?)

  • mali

    While I agree that seniority/tenure does cause problems, and everyone should be held accountable for the work they do, I do not agree that this is a reason to get rid of collective bargaining rights. Without collective bargaining rights, teachers would never be able to advocate for maximum class sizes, or the amount of resources they need in order to teach their students effectively. Without collective bargaining rights, they would not have access to health benefits for themselves or their families which would otherwise be impossible to purchase on a teacher’s salary. Would you rather have good teachers leave the profession of public education because they can’t afford to teach? Would you rather have the state say it’s ok to have 40 students in each class? Or that any teacher can be let go,for any reason, regardless of how well they do their job? Because that is what will happen if unions and collective bargaining rights are abolished.

  • Trish Gorham

    I wanted to get back to the discussion earlier, but was too busy working (in my unpaid time) on report cards.

    Hills and Frustrated: I’m sure you understand the problem with defining “effective” or “deadweight”. I’m sure you don’t mean to define these by test scores. I often have, by request of the Special Education teacher, those students with learning or behavioral disabilities placed in my class. Am I to be judged effective by how those test scores affect my overall average?

    If we remove “just the lowest 5-10% of teachers – the bottom of the barrel”, wouldn’t there be a different bottom the following year, and the following? So when do we know we have succeeded in winnowing out the bottom?

    I’m sure in Lake Wobegon, the teachers are all above average, as are the children. But in the real world there is a wide range of abilities and talents. If no learning is truly taking place in a classroom it is up to the administrator to document and follow the processes in place to remove those that are truly incompetent as opposed to those that are merely less than inspiring.

    And when the majority of new teachers leave within 5 years,should we depend on that cohort for stability, or those that have already made a total commitment to your children?

    JR: I’m afraid I don’t have time to address your red herrings (i.e., the whole gardener “analogy”) or straw men: “If you want to be mad, then place your anger where it belongs(not the taxpayers).”

    Speaking of red herrings, though “bad” teachers is more like a red whale, I commend to you a quote by Thomas Pinchon: If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about the answers.

    “They” have done a pretty good job when the financial crisis in states is blamed on workers rather than Wall Street.

  • http://www.tigerthegecko.blogspot.com maestra

    Two questions for you, Katy:

    1. Do you have the full list? what % of teachers are being laid off?

    2. Someone told me it’s everyone who has been hired since 2005? Is that true?

    This is absurd. I mean, I know budget cuts are horrible right now, but every year OUSD lays off way too many teachers and then has a ton of vacancies that they scramble to fill while all their teachers (many of whom wanted to stay even under less than ideal teaching conditions!) have found other jobs. Now they’re laying off even more?

  • Concerned OUSD Parent

    Katy,
    Please update us. 538 notices seems like far too many. Why is OUSD so blase about this? Don’t they realize that the teachers who received these notices have had their entire lives disrupted? And the low morale is affecting the entire school communities. How were these notices sent? Is the district giving any indication of when they may being rescinding these layoff notices? Our teachers deserve better. At our school. some of the most energetic, dynamic teachers received these notices. What has OUSD done to cut its own bloated administrative costs?

  • J.R.

    Trish,
    I realize you feel that what I and others have witnessed(hills parent,frustrated parent)is just overblown, but unfortunately it is not an aberration and we are not alone. There would not be huge nationwide coalition of parents if we were just fabricating problems where they don’t exist. I’ll repeat what I asked in another post ” how can a teacher know that colleagues are incompetent or not if they are in their own classroom? An involved parent knows if and when children are making progress throughout the year, and they can tell when the teacher is spinning their wheels. This is just a part of the whole problem, but it is real whether you like it or not.

  • Katy Murphy

    Concerned OUSD Parent: I’ve been trying to pin down the exact number of potential layoff notices (538 represents the number of full-time positions, rather than actual people) and other data for the last week or so.

    The district’s labor relations manager told me late this afternoon, via email, that there were some last minute changes (though it didn’t sound like they would affect the overall picture very much) and that he wouldn’t have the final count until tomorrow – the deadline.

    But he confirmed that layoff warnings will go to more than one-fifth of the teaching staff. And at the last school board meeting, HR staff said that because of the uncertainty/timing of the governor’s proposed June special election, it is possible that a large number of actual layoffs (as opposed to notices of possible layoff) will happen in May and that some might not be rescinded until well into the summer.

    That huge layoff rate is based on a “doomsday scenario” of losing $900 or more per student in state general-purpose funding, which would cost OUSD about $30 million and likely trigger many school closures. Individual schools, by contrast, have been budgeting on the assumption that the district will take a $349/student cut in general purpose funding.

  • David Laub

    Concerned OUSD Parent-

    According to the prinipal at my school site, Tony Smith’s administration has already guaranteed a 7%
    cut for staffing and programs at all sites for the upcoming fiscal year regardless of the outcome of the budget fight going on right now in Sacramento.

    The rational for this deep impact results from OUSD budget shortages. The amount of money that OUSD spends on the “for profit” consultants, programs and contractors seems to correspond to this funding shortage.

    In ballpark figures, OUSD’s annual budget is around $500,000,000.00. OUSD spends over $2000.00 per year per student on these consultants, programs and contractors. OUSD has approximately 40,000 students. So somewhere in the ballpark of $80,000,000.00 is what OUSD currently spends annually on “for profit” consultants, programs and contractors. This is between 6% and 7% of OUSD’s annual budget.

    A 7% cut at the school site will still have severe negative impact on the capacity of the schools to optimize students cognitive and affectivedevelopment.

    Perhaps Katy could look into this and I hope that Katy will take your request in post #44 as a serious one. We would all benefit from a serious and researched reply that answers the concern with concrete data.