Report Card

News and discussion on K-12 schools in the greater Sacramento region

February 25, 2013
Senator Huff proposes pushing back teacher layoff deadlines

layoff2.JPGSenate Republican leader Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar, introduced a bill that would push back deadlines for sending layoff notices to California teachers. Huff said in a media release Monday that moving the March 15th deadline for preliminary notices and May 15 deadline for final notices would save school districts millions.

School districts typically overestimate how many layoff notices they need to send since they don't have a finalized budget in place by March 15. Teachers who receive pink slips are entitled to a hearing to ensure their seniority and credentials were correctly assessed. Those all day hearings mean districts must bring in substitute teachers.

In most cases, layoff notices are then rescinded.

"We have to put an end to the practice of causing teachers to think they are going to lose their job, then turning around and telling them 'never mind,'" said Senator Huff in the release. "It's cruel. Everyone thinks their job is in jeopardy, which creates anxiety for the teachers' families, students and communities."

The photo to the left was taken in 2010 during the first day of administrative hearings for pink slipped teachers in Elk Grove Unified.

Below is the release on Huff's proposed bill.

What do you think about this?

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Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar) has introduced new legislation designed to help California teachers and save valuable school resources. SB 559 would move the state mandated deadlines for preliminary and final teacher layoff notices so that school districts might better understand their budget revenues before sending notices to teachers.

Current law requires districts to send out notices every year by March 15th but because school districts have no idea what their budgets will look like, they typically overestimate and send out countless layoff notices to teachers who will never actually be laid off.

The change sought in Senator Huff's legislation, which has been recommended by the Legislative Analyst's Office (LAO), modifies the complicated, expensive and illogical procedure that costs millions in taxpayer dollars. The archaic law also creates months of undue stress on teachers since most layoff notices issued by school districts are rescinded.

"We have to put an end to the practice of causing teachers to think they are going to lose their job, then turning around and telling them 'never mind,'" said Senator Huff. "It's cruel. Everyone thinks their job is in jeopardy, which creates anxiety for the teachers' families, students and communities."

In one year at Elk Grove Unified, one of California's larger school districts, 445 teachers received pink slips, crushing morale among the teaching staff. But by July, 100% of the layoff notices were repealed after the district was able to properly assess the state budget. The last minute decision created a mass scramble to place teachers back in the classroom, disrupting valuable learning time for students.

According to Ed Trust West, in 2010, of the three largest California districts, 78% of the layoff notices were ultimately rescinded by July. The LAO estimates the notices cost $706 per teacher, costing schools millions annually. This is money that could have gone to the classroom.

SB 559 will move preliminary layoff notices from March 15 to June 1, which is closer to the state budget deadline. Final notices would be moved from May 15 to August 1.

Senator Huff serves as the Senate Republican Leader and represents the 29th Senate District covering portions of Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino Counties. Follow Senator Huff on Twitter at @bobhuff99.

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About Report Card

Loretta KalbLoretta Kalb started her reporting career at The Sacramento Union, moved to KOVR-13 as a television reporter, editor and producer, headed to The Associated Press in San Francisco and eventually returned to Sacramento and joined The Sacramento Bee. Throughout her career, she has covered the state Legislature, courts, local government and, now, education. She is a Chico native and an Elk Grove resident.

Diana LambertDiana Lambert began her journalism career as a proofreader at the Lodi News-Sentinel. She is now a senior writer at The Sacramento Bee covering K-12 education and California State University, Sacramento. Previously she was The Bee’s Elk Grove bureau chief. Lambert was raised in a military family and lived at bases around the globe. She attended four high schools, graduating from Tokay High in Lodi and then Sacramento State University. She lives in Elk Grove.

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