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Over 70 TUSD teachers to receive pink slips

POSTED March 3, 2010 5:01 p.m.
Late into an eventful Tuesday meeting, the Turlock Unified School District Board of Trustees voted unanimously to send layoff notices to 76 district teachers before March 15.
“The largest group affected are the elementary school teachers at the kindergarten through third grade level,” said Mike Trainor, TUSD assistant superintendent for human resources.
Out of the 75 full time employees and one part time employee that will be receiving pink slips, 60 of those are teachers in the kindergarten through third grade level, Trainor said. Those teachers are targeted to keep the option available of increasing class sizes up to 30 students per one teacher, which would eliminate a total of 60 teachers.
The other positions that will be receiving pink slips are in the high school areas of English, drafting, foreign language and math. Areas within the seventh and eighth grade level being targeted are math/science and language arts. Areas that are being targeted in the kindergarten through sixth grade levels are resource specialists and adapted physical education.
There may be fewer layoff notices sent out due to teachers who decide to resign or retire, Trainor said.
The fear was palpable at Tuesday’s board meeting, as dozens of school employees showed up to put a face and voice to the positions the trustees were deciding to cut.
“These are layoff notices, they are not terminations,” said Sonny Da Marto, TUSD superintendent, assuring worried district employees.
Layoff notices are expected to be sent out next week to 76 employees. All pink slips must be sent out by March 15 according to state law, Trainor said.
Recipients of the pink slips this year will be notified by May 15 if there will be a final notice for termination, he said.
Other agenda items approved just before midnight at Tuesday’s meeting included the adoption of a resolution to determine district needs in selected certificated positions with competency standards and the adoption of tie breaking criteria.
Competency standards will allow district staff to determine the individuals who are needed the most for the district due to specific skills. The teachers at the Osborn Elementary and Dutcher Middle School dual-immersion programs are one group the district could determine are too valuable to layoff because of their bilingual education abilities.
Other teachers that could be overlooked in the layoff process include “teachers who currently hold a preliminary or clear credential and teachers who currently hold a Bilingual Crosscultural Language and Academic Development certification.”
Also, when district staff is determining who will receive a pink slip, they may come across the problem of teachers who have the same seniority. A tie breaking criteria was approved at Tuesday’s meeting to help district staff to determine pink slips for teachers on an equal seniority level.
The tie-breaking criteria will compare same level seniority teachers by rating their credentials giving a teacher one point if they hold multiple and single subject credentials, giving a teacher one point if they have credentials and experience to teach in a special categorical program with a CLEAR credential and CLAD certificate, and giving a teacher two points if they have credentials and experience to teach in a special categorical program with a BCLAD certificate.
“It is my hope — it’s always been my hope — that we will be able to weather this crisis together as a team and we will be able to do that without anybody losing a job,” Da Marto said. “That doesn’t mean that we can do this without anyone suffering. Everyone will have to suffer in order for us to be able to get through this crisis, but I don’t think anybody needs to lose a job.”
 To contact Maegan Martens, e-mail mmartens@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.

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