For all of the people who tried to attend the Oakland school board’s special budget meeting tonight and anyone else who missed the presentation, here’s the upshot:
The Oakland school district is bracing for a 16 percent cut in state general purpose funding for 2011-12. That amounts to $844 per student, or $30.5 million, rather than $349 per student, or $12.6 million, as previously thought. Not a small difference. But the district’s staff’s “best thinking” for making ends meet under that scenario does not call for additional cuts at schools, school closures or furloughs.
What it does entail is a whole lot of one-time funds taken from the state loan, adult education programs, and additional reserves. And, as a result, a much larger structural deficit — $22 million, rather than $7 million — and more cuts down the line. You can find the presentation here.
As many of you know well, OUSD sent 657 teachers (in 538 full-time positions) notices that their jobs were at risk. But the data from the school-based budgeting process just came in, and a total of 137 teaching positions have been eliminated.
Then you have the 106 early retirees and the 16 untenured teachers who were dismissed, or “non re-elected.” Not to mention the people who are about to resign, but haven’t yet. The 101 teachers working on temporary contracts — some, with full teaching credentials and masters degrees — would be the first to go, though board members expressed interest in trying to keep them if there are open positions.
I’m no HR specialist, but it seems to me that final layoff notices for permanent, k-12 teachers should be few and far between. Staff said the decisions would likely be made by April 15.
Board member Jody London said it was important that pink-slipped teachers know as soon as possible if their jobs are safe, even if the district notifies them in stages, starting with the most senior. “If we know now that we’re not going to be issuing as many layoffs … I would like to see us move much sooner, rather than later, to let those people know,” she said.
Brett “Opus” Wilson, an ASCEND teacher, read a statement from his principal, Larissa Adam, to that effect:
Her recommendation to the board is that you immediately rescind all unnecessary layoffs and recognize that the best teachers in their fourth and fifth years are being offered jobs right now. We cannot wait until May 15. The numbers are clear. We don’t need to lay them off.
Layoffs of classified staff — school security officers, clerks and custodians — are expected to come at the end of the month.
I consumed so much more data this evening, from teacher retention data to consultant expenditures, but that will just have to wait for another day. Good night!