Deadline for pink slips

Doubt again faces teachers
Debbie Pfeiffer Trunnell, Staff Writer
Posted: 05/15/2011 07:02:32 AM PDT

Joyella Beuler spends five afternoons a week teaching reading, writing and math to enthusiastic kindergarten students.

But like thousands of other teachers statewide, the Lytle Creek Elementary School teacher faces an uncertain future.

She is one of 259 certificated employees in the San Bernardino City Unified School District who received pink slips in time for the May 15 final state deadline.

“It’s like I am a really good actress in the classroom every day,” she said. “The students’ excitement is contagious, but under the surface there are all these emotions because I don’t know what the future holds.”

Teachers and other certificated staff initially receive preliminary layoff notices in time for the state’s
Joyella Beuler, left, helps Jeremiah Mejia, 6, with his math last week in her kindergarten class at Lytle Creek Elementary School in San Bernardino. Beuler has received a preliminary layoff notice in each of her three years with the district. (LaFonzo Carter/Staff Photographer)
March 15 deadline. The final decision is made by May 15.

So far this year, 20,187 teachers statewide have received the pink slips.

San Bernardino City Unified anticipates cutting $25 million going into the next school year and voted in recent weeks to lay off 259 certificated staff.

In past years it was able to save jobs using a mix of federal stimulus and other funding.

District officials hope they will be able to do the same this time around, but are awaiting the outcome of Gov. Jerry Brown’s May budget revise, slated to be released today.

“I am hearing some positive things about the May revise so we may get lucky,” said San Bernardino school board president Danny Tillman. “But if things don’t change it will stay as it is.”

Beuler, who has received pink slips every spring since she was hired by the district three years ago, already is fearing the worst.

“During the last two years everyone was brought back, but this time I think it will be tougher,” she said. “I have already started looking for a new job, but there is nothing out there for teachers.”

In Rialto Unified, where district officials expect to lose $9.5 million toward the next school year, the board
recently voted to lay off 96 certificated employees.

The number includes 85 teachers and 11 counselors.

Paula Bailey, a parent with four children in the district, said she is deeply concerned about losing staff.

“It’s not only teachers but also counselors and administrators, so it’s hard,” she said.

Still she remains confident the school board will do everything they can to save jobs.

“I attend the majority of board meetings and I feel they will do all they can to bring people back despite what is happening in Sacramento,” she said. “I really encourage people to voice concerns to Sacramento, because we can only do so much.”

There is still much concern in Fontana Unified, where the board recently voted to send final layoff notices to 129 educators and counselors to keep the district solvent. Officials there expect to make $26.7 million in cuts.

In past years the district was able to bring some pink-slipped employees back through a mix of early retirement and other incentives.

Superintendent Cali-Olsen Binks said she does not feel as hopeful this year.

“We are waiting for the May revise and I am not feeling positive at all,” she said. “I wonder with additional cuts if we will be able to survive.”

Redlands Unified plans to lay off just two certificated employees. The district will make $2.6 million in cuts going into 2011-2012, officials said.

The Mountain View School District laid off seven permanent teachers and 7.5 temporary teachers (laid off permanent teachers from last year) that they re-employed for the 2010-2011 school year using the Federal Jobs Bill funds.

“Once again we are very saddened by the layoffs,” said superintendent Rick Carr. “We released highly competent and wonderful teachers.”

The Ontario-Montclair School District issued 86 notices to their temporary teachers.

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