Natomas Teachers To Get Pink Slips

More than 50 teachers in the Natomas Unified School District are expected to receive pink slips today.

It’s anticipated layoff notices will be hand-delivered to teachers with the lowest seniority by school principals or Superintendent Bobbie Plough. State law requires school districts notify teaching staff by March 15 if they may not have a job the following school year.

Natomas school board members approved staff cuts earlier this week. This marks the third consecutive year of teacher layoffs in Natomas. Pink slips are being issued to two dozen elementary school teachers, two dozen high school teachers and several others.

The picture has not changed,” school board president Bruce Roberts said.

The layoffs are yet another reminder of the fiscal crisis faced by Natomas Unified – and several school districts statewide – as the result of dwindling state funds and delayed payment of those monies. The Fiscal Crisis & Management Team board is tentatively scheduled to discuss a possible state takeover of the Natomas district at an April board meeting.

The Natomas Teachers’ Association agreed to 7.9 percent-worth of concessions for the 2011-12 school year in the form of furlough days and increased class sizes which means fewer teachers will be needed. District officials still seek a second year of concessions and hope to negotiate an additional 6 percent cut in the event Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed temporary tax extensions do not make it onto the June ballot or are not approved by voters.
(Translation: For the district’s worst-case scenario budget to balance, all employees likely will need to take a 14 percent total paycut for 2011-12.)

In the meantime, California School Employees Association No. 745 is set to return to the bargaining table next week. A tentative agreement between the union and the Natomas school district reached in January fell apart when put to a vote.

The first bargaining session that followed members’ 110-21 decision to reject the proposed contract was tense. The Natomas Unified School District called on experienced negotiator Ron Bennett, president of School Services of California, to assist its team.

Mr. Bennett has a long and impressive record of work in school district financial management and employee negotiations,” said Plough. “I felt that his assistance would be beneficial in our negotiations process.”
During last week’s talks, Bennett hinted several times the district could declare impasse if an agreement was not reached. Classified labor relations rep Roderick Gaulman and local union leaders countered with complaints of unfair labor practices related to furlough days and bad-faith bargaining.

Both parties met for several hours, but a new agreement was not reached. The union did sign paperwork allowing employees to work under the previous contract while bargaining continues.

Plough and Bennett planned to attend the classified union’s unit meeting Thursday evening, but the presentation was canceled by union president Mike Sanders earlier in the day.

I don’t think it would be beneficial,” Sanders said.

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