Contact: Robin Swanson at (916) 443-7817
Sacramento – One day before the March 15th deadline, layoff notices to teachers and other educators are beginning to pile up in the mailboxes of some of California’s most dedicated professionals, a cruel reminder of the real impact of the Governor’s proposed $4.8 billion in budget cuts.
According to the Education Coalition’s latest tally, nearly 14,000 pink slip notices have already been sent to teachers, and more are expected to arrive in the mail over the weekend. The California Department of Education is reporting up to 20,000 layoffs, including other education professionals.
For the state’s classified employees, including custodians, food service workers, bus drivers and many others, the situation is equally as dire – and due to the 45 day notice requirement, these employees can be laid off at any time during the year. Pink slip notices for these employees are projected to be in the tens of thousands in the coming weeks, as school districts are forced to work with a budget that leaves them $24,000 short for every classroom in California.
While the March 15th numbers are bleak, they only tell part of the story. The thousands of pink slips that are being handed to teachers and other educators represent only a fraction of the collateral damage that school face if the Governor's proposed $4.8 billion cuts are enacted. Thousands more temporary and probationary teachers, custodians, bus drivers, nurses, librarians, counselors and administrators also have been cut from schools budget for 2008-09.
California already ranks dead last in the number of support professionals in our schools, such as librarians and counselors.
“When teachers are laid off due to budget cuts, sadly, it’s California’s students who suffer the consequences,” said David A. Sanchez, President of the California Teachers Association. “If we want talented teachers to remain in the classroom teaching our students, we cannot constantly be pulling the rug out from underneath them. Some of these teachers will never return to the profession.”
"When pink slips are sent to educators, not only do our students feel the impact right away, but entire schools are disrupted and communities suffer," said Pam Brady, President of the California State PTA. "When bright, enthusiastic teachers and school staff receive pink slips, they're forced to find other jobs and we lose them to the profession forever. That's not the way to build a world-class education system in California."
“California has the highest academic standards in the nation, and experts agree that billions more are needed to ensure all students have the opportunity to meet these standards,” said Paul H. Chatman, President of the California School Boards Association. “Cuts to education funding hurt students, undermine school progress and shortchange California’s future.”
“This budget is taking a real human toll on California’s educators and students,” said Marty Hittelman, President of the California Federation of Teachers. “Each layoff notice sent in the mail will impact not only that individual’s life, but will harm their students’ learning. A child doesn’t get a second chance at kindergarten. And, like all Californians, teachers and other educational employees have mortgages or rents to pay, and these layoffs are often uprooting working families who still have to make ends meet when the state has left them hanging in the balance.”
“Layoffs of school employees and teachers negatively impact everyone,” said Rob Feckner, President of the California School Employees Association. “Whether it’s less adult supervision on school campuses, fewer bus routes for students or other services cut because schools simply don’t have the people in place to provide them, the negative impact of these cuts to students and schools is immense.”
“There’s a direct link between pink slips and educational programs and services. These cuts means larger class sizes, shuttered libraries, abandoned art and music programs, and an end to many programs that serve California’s students struggling to meet our tough academic standards,” said Bob Wells, Executive Director of Association of California School Administrators.