Monday, March 07, 2011

Schools, Union Not Getting Anywhere

I recommend clicking on the link to the original article in order to see all the links in the text!

Schools, Union Not Getting Anywhere
Voice of San Diego
Scott Lewis
March 7, 2011

San Diego Unified School District is facing three scenarios that may lead to the layoff of 1,300 school employees including 500 teachers -- or worse. The first is what the school board hopes for: The governor is able to get state tax extensions on the ballot, and voters approve them, and the deficit they face won't be as breathtaking.

The second is what they seem to be preparing for: Those tax extensions don't pass. They aren't even guaranteed to get on the ballot. This would lead to 500 teacher cuts.

The third scenario is a nightmare: Those tax extensions fail and the state makes even further cuts to education.

The Union Tribune today touches on one potential program on the brink: music.

Newly elected school board member Scott Barnett persuaded his colleagues to open up talks with the teachers union. They've been working under a closed three-year contract. But it doesn't seem to be going well, Barnett reported on his Facebook page. He acknowledged that the school police have been willing to talk. But other employee groups?

"So far we have not had any real movement on any discussion with all the rest. This is far a failure of both school board and union leadership which we are all responsible for. It takes both sides to lead," he wrote, in a discussion that opened up on his page.

Last week, education writer Emily Alpert and NBC San Diego took on the teacher layoffs for San Diego Explained. The so-called "last hired, first fired" rules mean that if the layoffs do come, they'll affect the least senior teachers and therefore usually lower income-area schools. Alpert touched on how a civil rights lawsuit in Los Angeles, which was supported by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, has challenged the teachers union and the seniority rules.

[Maura Larkins comment: The San Diego ACLU has steered clear of any lawsuit against wholesale layoffs of teachers in low income schools. The Los Angeles ACLU is taking up the slack. San Diego ACLU attorney David Blair-Loy believes in being extremely polite to school attorneys. He says litigation is the "worst" option. For his excessive politeness, he was awarded a "civility" award by the San Diego Bar Association. See all Blair-Loy posts.]

The New York Times explained that issue Friday.

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