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Oakland elementary school teachers to keep jobs

on April 14, 2011

There will be no budget-based layoffs of elementary school teachers in Oakland next fall, Deputy Superintendent Maria Santos announced at Wednesday night’s school board meeting. About 230 elementary teachers had received lay-off warning notices in March. At least 17 music teacher positions will also be saved.

The jobs were saved by a combination of voluntary departures—including about 100 veteran teachers taking early retirement—and depleting the struggling district’s coffers, schools’ spokesperson Troy Flint said. Flint said the district had spent so much of its cash that it now has less than 2 percent in reserve, less than is recommended.* The district also scraped the last of what could be pulled from the Adult Education budget, used the end of the federal jobs’ bill funds and scooped out the last of a state loan the district took out several years ago.

The overall budget picture for the district hasn’t changed. If Governor Jerry Brown’s tax extension proposal is not passed, Oakland schools are still facing a $30 million reduction on top of last year’s $122 million in cuts. If the money does not come through, school officials did not say how they would continue to pay for the teachers it’s keeping on this year.

In early March, the Oakland School Board voted to send warning notices to 538 district teachers might potentially be laid off. Because the state’s education code dictates that layoffs must be made in order of seniority, schools with younger teachers received more layoff notices, including East Oakland’s Futures Elementary, where all teachers and administrators received warning notices.

Although Wednesday’s announcement means that 230 elementary school teachers will keep their jobs, there will still be significant teacher lay-offs next year. Teachers hired on temporary contracts are still expecting to lose their jobs, and Flint said the Adult Education program has been “thoroughly gutted.” There was no news Wednesday regarding secondary teachers or administrators who received lay-off notices in March. However, Santos indicated there may soon be news on that front as well.

*Correction: This paragraph has been adjusted to clarify that the district has spent its cash reserve in addition to other funding sources in order to save 230 teacher jobs in Oakland. regrets the confusion.


  1. Darryl Cobb on April 14, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    I just wanted to let you know that your headline is not entirely accurate. Oakland schools are still losing teachers. Peralta Elementary is slated to lose 1 of 12 teachers tomorrow, despite this news. The crux of our problem is the “Results Based Budgeting”, or RBB, that OUSD is wrongheadedly using. It penalizes sites for having Senior Teachers (because the site’s budgetary pools must pay Teachers’ salaries as well,) which means that Peralta’s already above average classroom size will be even larger next year. The District implemented this RBB idea without checking with the Teachers Union, and now we’re stuck with it, despite OUSD’s “magic thinking” that somehow Senior and Junior Teachers will move themselves to other school sites to allow for better classroom sizes.

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