L.A. Unified teachers — but not administrators — will escape budget-related layoffs this year

No teachers in the L.A. Unified School District will get pink slips for cash flow reasons this year.  

That’s thanks in part to a one-time influx of cash from the state and Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed budget that allocates more funding to schools. The last time the district didn't send teachers these notices was 2013.

Teachers across L.A. Unified have become accustomed to getting pink slips on March 15 — that’s when state law requires districts to notify teachers that they could be laid off. 

Receiving a notice doesn’t mean those teachers are going to be laid off, but the district sends layoff notices while it waits to find out how much money it will receive from the state for the next school year, and how many teachers it can afford to keep.

Not every district employee is safe this year, though.

The L.A. Unified board of education voted Tuesday to send March 15 notices to 1,692 administrators in the district, both in and out of schools, saying they may be laid off or reassigned. There are 934 school-based administrators, including school-based principals and assistant principals, who will not receive notices, the district’s chief human resources officer, Justo Avila, said in an email through a spokesperson. 

“Because of the hard work we’ve done, the district will not be sending layoff notices this year to teachers and Health and Human Services employees,”  Supt. Michelle King said in a statement. “This means we will have less money for new initiatives.” 

The district will also receive added funding in coming years because of better attendance and its “More Than a Meal” campaign, a push to increase applications to partake in the free-and-reduced lunch program, King said during Tuesday’s school board meeting. The state’s new school funding formula gives districts more money for low-income students. 

L.A. Unified could still let teachers go for other reasons such as performance, spokeswoman Barbara Jones said.

"Not sending out layoff notices is the right decision for students,” Alex Caputo-Pearl, United Teachers Los Angeles president, said in an email statement. “This should also remind us of how important Proposition 30 was to allowing King and the board to make this decision, and it should encourage all of us to double down in ensuring that an extension of Proposition 30 is approved in the November 2016 election." 

There probably will be fewer pink slips across the state this year than last, said California Teachers Assn. spokesman Mike Myslinski. 

“With the teacher shortage and with new funding for schools, we are only hearing [of] a very limited number of pink slips to date,” Myslinksi said. “Of course, that could change.”

A 2012 state report found that districts across the state issue more layoff notices to teachers than they need to, in part because of the disconnect between the required layoff notice timeline and the state budget timeline. Districts have to send teachers final layoff notices by May 15, even though the state budget might not be passed until later. 

Because of that timeline and the requirement of laying off teachers with the least experience first, schools sometimes have to lay off teachers they want to keep and then try to rehire them.

“That puts schools at a disadvantage because they don’t know whether the person they want … is coming back,” said Jose Lara, a social studies teacher at Santee Education Complex and United Teachers Los Angeles’ Central Area chairman.

Even if notices don’t turn into layoffs, they introduce uncertainty into teachers’ lives, Lara said. Some teachers, for example, worry because they rely on the job to maintain their immigration status.

Reach Sonali Kohli on Twitter @Sonali_Kohli or by email at sonali.kohli@latimes.com.

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