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San Francisco Schools to Issue Hundreds of Pink Slips

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District must cut $113 million; statewide tax initiatives could reduce the number of expected layoffs

More than 400 public school teachers, administrators and other staff in San Francisco will receive layoff notices within the next few months under a new plan approved by the San Francisco Unified School District Board of Education.

The district is currently making cuts of at least $113 million and is also facing a projected deficit of at least $27 million through June 2012.

California education code requires the district to notify staffers of expected layoffs for the coming school year by May 15. The district could still rescind some or all of the layoff notices depending on the outcome of statewide tax initiatives that may be headed for the June ballot. The state Legislature has until March 10 to decide whether to hold that special election, which would ask voters to extend income and vehicle taxes.

With a state budget shortfall of $28 billion, Gov. Jerry Brown has warned K-12 schools that they may face cuts should the tax initiatives fail.

The pink slips will be sent to 140 teachers, 139 administrators and 140 classroom aides and early education workers, among others, according to the district. The layoffs include 53 elementary school teachers, 49 middle school teachers and 38 high school teachers.

“If they do pass, we might not need to cut any jobs,” Board of Education member Rachel Norton said of the tax measures.

Norton said that next year, the district may dip into $10 million in federal stimulus funds and $8 million in city reserves created by a 2003 voter-approved initiative.

“When you remove folks from the classroom, it tends to increase class sizes,” said Dennis Kelly, president of United Educators of San Francisco, which represents some 6,000 school district employees, including teachers and nurses. “Students will have less personalized attention, and their parents will have fewer opportunities to be connected to the school through someone who speaks their own language.”

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