Volume 46 Number 3
Districts may make unprecedented move
By Alan Frey,
Although full-time faculty layoffs are a rare event at California’s community colleges, the 2010-11 year may be a bellwether for the foreseeable future. As the budget crisis continues, districts will be hedging their bets as to how much money they will have to run their institutions and therefore will make unprecedented moves with regard to the issue of layoffs.
Layoffs of community college faculty are governed by the education code and are patterned after provisions in the K-12 system. The process is an unfamiliar one to most community college faculty as wholesale layoffs have not occurred during the employment of most of the current faculty.
As a primer the layoffs will adhere to the following process.
First, Community College Boards of Trustees will, based on a recommendation from the CEO, determine how many positions need to be eliminated. Generally, a district will over-estimate the number of layoff notices to faculty to cover unanticipated bumping rights of those laid off. So if a district wants to lay off 20 faculty, they are likely to send notices to double or triple that number.
Second, in the process, will be the formal notification to affected faculty that they may not be employed for the subsequent year. These formal documents must be received no later than midnight on March 15. Accompanying the notices will be a document entitled “request for a hearing” and a notice of defense. Faculty, even those who believe their layoff may be justified, must file the Request for hearing in order to protect their rights. Failure to send in this demand waives the right to a hearing and any reemployment rights. If you didn’t get notified this year, be on the look-out next year. Many are predicting a worse budget for next year than we had this year. Our union needs to be prepared to act next year if needed.
The third and final step in the process will be a hearing conducted by an Administrative Law Judge where the district and the affected faculty are provided the opportunity to challenge the layoff notice.
Faculty who ultimately get severed from the district have, if they are tenured, 39 months of re-employment preference, while non-tenured have 24 months. This means that should the district reinstate a terminated or reduced program the laid off faculty will be rehired in order of seniority.
What we have found over the years is that many districts will attempt to continue the service that has been reduced either by increasing the workload of remaining faculty or substituting the service through the use of management or classified staff. This is illegal! A district that reduces services through layoffs must discontinue the service and cannot reinstate the service without rehiring the laid off faculty.
So the bottom line is clear, if you are one of the faculty who receive a layoff notice be sure to file the “Request for a Hearing” to protect yourself.