Wednesday, May 12, 2010

SFGate: S.F. teachers, district reach tentative deal

This from today's Chronicle:

The San Francisco school board rescinded half of the 701 pink slips sent to teachers and administrators in March, vowing Tuesday night to save at least 150 more jobs after a preliminary agreement reached with teachers is a done deal.

The 5-1 vote to cut layoffs down to 350 positions followed an 11th-hour deal reached between the teachers union and district negotiators minutes before the board meeting started. Board member Kim-Shree Maufas voted against finalizing any layoffs. Board member Hydra Mendoza was absent.

Facing a $113 million shortfall over the next two years, district officials said that without contract concessions from the union, they would be forced to follow through with hundreds of layoffs.

The school board has until Saturday under state law to finalize how many teachers, counselors, nurses and administrators to lay off. The district sent out 700 preliminary pink slips to its so-called certificated staff in March. It also sent pink slips to 181 teachers aides.

"That isn't perfect, but it's better than 700," said Superintendent Carlos Garcia at the start of Tuesday's meeting.

The union was still scheduled to hold a meeting with members May 20 to consider a strike authorization vote, the outcome likely dependent on settling a contract, union officials said.

Garcia had said before the agreement was reached that it was a financial risk to rescind the 350 or so pink slips without an agreement, but one he would recommend to the board "because we can't afford to lose any more of our talented staff than absolutely necessary."

To stay financially solvent, district officials asked several unions for contract concessions, including furloughs and suspension of teacher and administrator sabbaticals. With those concessions, Garcia said he could commit to not exceed 200 layoffs.

The teachers union previously has asked for no teacher layoffs, which Garcia said was impossible.

"There's no way we're going to get down to zero," he said.

Several teachers spoke during the meeting, begging the board to rescind all the layoffs, including several from El Dorado elementary, where 11 of 15 teachers got pink slips.

"I am invested in my school, and my school and my students are invested in me," said teary-eyed, first-year teacher Johanna Woo, one of 11 who received a layoff notice in March.

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