LAUSD Layoff Appeal Hearings
Administrative hearings began Monday for the estimated 9,500 Los Angeles Unified School District employees who received layoff notices as part of the district's attempt to diminish the $390 million budget deficit.
Receiving the notice does not necessarily mean the employees will most definitely be laid off. Thousands of notices are expected to be rescinded by June, according to Superintendent John Deasy.
"Every layoff notice does not necessarily mean that you don’t have a position, but it also means that the current position you're in may not exist next year," LAUSD Chief Human Resources Officer Vivian Ekchian said Monday.
Last year, 7,300 layoff notices were issued by the district, and nearly half were retracted. LAUSD employees hope retractions occur on a larger scale this year so not to inhibit teachers' ability to meet students' most basic educational needs.
Classroom sizes and programs will be negatively affected, but the district is making every effort to avoid that by negotiating and directing attention to the state in regards to lack of funding and indecision on their part, Ekchian further elaborated.
The layoff notices were sent to more than 1/4 of United Teachers Los Angeles members and add up to more than half of the total state layoff notices sent this year.
President of the UTLA Warren Fletcher believes the layoffs are more detrimental than the district is foreseeing.
"It would be a disruption of unprecedented proportions and I don’t think the district could survive," he said. "I mean...if you slice off 1/4 of a person’s body they still have 3/4 of their body, but they’re still probably going to die."
"Teaching isn't ditch digging," Fletcher added. "Teaching is a job where you have to have your heart and your soul in it every day, and you have to have the enthusiasm and the belief."
Still, for some of the LAUSD teachers and staff members this layoff process could be their third or fourth round of layoff scares in their teaching careers.
"I cant guarantee that these people are going to keep coming back and that would be a tragic loss for every child in L.A." Fletcher said.
Early and adult education programs have all been badly impacted this year.
Metropolitan High School teacher Sandra Christenson says she has 40 at risk kids in her classroom and imagines the number of troubled students will only escalate if layoff notices are not retracted.
"The schools don’t know what's going to happen to [employees] and it causes such a demoralization of teachers who care so much," she said. "We have at risk kids...you can't hurt the teachers and not hurt the kids. It's ridiculous."
Metropolitan pink-slipped teacher Kierstyn Olsen agrees that LAUSD students will suffer severely.
"Basically they’re going to be neglected," Olsen said. "Class sizes are going to go up. They’re not going to get the help that they need, and at the end of the day it means that more of them are going to drop out and not get diplomas."
Ruben Santos, a student at Metropolitan High School, is disappointed that good teachers may be getting laid off once again.
"I feel really bad because a lot of these teachers really do help us a lot," he said. "All the teachers that have been doing their job pretty good they don’t deserve to be laid off."
The district is required to send out layoff warning notices before both the state and LAUSD's budgets are finalized. LAUSD is also waiting on Governor Brown's May budget revision.
LAUSD plans to ask voters to approve a $298 parcel tax in the fall that would raise about $255 million a year to help offset state funding cuts.
The hearings are expected to run until the end of June, when employees will find out just how many jobs will be salvaged.