Pink slips approved for school district employees

Nearly 400 teachers and 140 administrators in the San Francisco Unified School District will receive pink slips March 15 — warnings that their jobs could be eliminated this summer due to budget cuts.

Late Tuesday, the Board of Education approved a staff recommendation to send out the provisionary notices, in response to declining enrollment and decreases in state funding.

The district faces an immediate $1 million shortfall and roughly $40 million in losses in 2008-09, predominantlyfrom state budget cuts proposed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, according to district spokeswoman Gentle Blythe.

Although the district hopes to tap into San Francisco’s rainy-day fund to soften the financial blow, it won’t get approval to do so before the state-determined pink-slip deadline.

“Obviously, the district will try to rescind those layoffs as soon as possible, in order to not lose staff,” Blythe said. “Layoff notices can be very demoralizing … and good people may start looking for jobs elsewhere.”

The district did not lay off any staff in 2007, but issued 28 pink slips in 2006 and laid off more than 100 teachers in 2005 — most of whom were rehired by that summer.

The rainy-day fund, approved by voters in 2003, includes nearly $30 million that could be available to The City’s public schools, but only with the approval of Mayor Gavin Newsom and the Board of Supervisors, according to Blythe. The mayor indicated earlier this month that he would support opening the fund, as have several supervisors.

In addition to the $40 million deficit next year, the district must take out short-term loans this summer to cover $1 million in state funding that will be postponed from July until September, Blythe said.

bwinegarner@examiner.com

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