In the face of a widening budget gap, Los Angeles Unified School District officials said in remarks reported last week that they could soon send nearly 3,000 nonpermanent teachers notices warning of imminent layoffs. While it has become standard policy for the district to send layoff notices as a precautionary measure, teachers union officials and administrators fear this is the first time since the mid-1990s that teachers could actually lose their jobs, the Daily News reported.
"This is not a favored option, but under the current fiscal crisis, we have to consider it," Vivian Ekchian, the LAUSD's interim chief human- resources officer, told the newspaper.
Unlike permanent teachers, who must be notified in March if they will not have a job in the upcoming school year, nonpermanent teachers--those who have worked for two years or fewer - must be given only two weeks' notice. Still, Superintendent Ramon Cortines said the notifications do not guarantee teachers will lose their jobs.
"I'm just being very cautious," Cortines said, according to the Daily News.
The district will first look at 2,290 nonpermanent teachers who have the least seniority and who teach elementary school and secondary school English and math, according to a report prepared for the school board, the Daily News reported. Potential layoffs would also target interns and provisional teachers. The school board considered the matter at its first meeting of the year, Jan. 13.
If layoffs take place, according to union leaders quoted by the Daily News, it will almost certainly bring about bigger class sizes and threaten the steady improvements made in recent years in reducing the dropout rate and improving standardized test scores.