OAKLAND (KCBS) – Hundreds of Oakland public school teachers could be laid off this year because of worsening state budget cuts, according to Oakland Unified School District Superintendent Tony Smith.
Union leaders had an emergency meeting with Smith Thursday to try to figure out how to save jobs.
KCBS’ Doug Sovern Reports:
It’s been years since Oakland had to take such a drastic step. Some school districts send out layoff notices every March 15th, only to rescind them later. The Oakland Unified School District hasn’t done that in six years and hasn’t had major teacher layoffs in a decade.
Now, Oakland superintendent Tony Smith has warned that hundreds of teachers may get notices next month – and they won’t necessarily be rescinded.
“It’s dire,” lamented Betty Olson Jones, president of the teachers’ union, the Oakland Education Association, who had an emergency meeting with Smith on Thursday. “He’s talking about hundreds. He couldn’t give us any definite numbers, partly because Oakland has a very unique school-based budgeting system and so every single one of the 110 school sites is responsible for their own budget. And so they have to make the cuts and so we don’t know yet how many that will be.”
The school district needs to cut another $12.5 million from its budget. That number jumps to $42 million if lawmakers and voters don’t approve Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed tax increase extensions.
“We’ve kept the cuts away from the classroom as long as possible,” explained district spokesman Troy Flint. “And it looks like this year we are going to have to use the last resort of teacher layoffs.”
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