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Politics

Senate GOP leader wants to reduce pink slips for teachers

Senate GOP leader wants to reduce pink slips for teachers
Senate Minority Leader Bob Huff, R¿Diamond Bar)
(Rich Pedroncelli / AP)

SACRAMENTO -- State Senate GOP leader Robert Huff of Diamond Bar says he has a way to reduce the annual practice of issuing preliminary pink slips to tens of thousands of California teachers who later are told they will not lose their jobs.

But a teacher’s group says Huff’s SB 559 might make it harder for instructors who do lose their jobs to find other work.

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State law requires school districts that want to lay off teachers based on budgetary problems to issue preliminary pink slips by March 15 of each year and final notices by May 15.

Because districts often don’t know what state funding will be in March, they often assume the worst-case scenario and send out many more preliminary pink slips than turn out to be necessary, Huff said.

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The cost and anguish of the process should be reduced by requiring the preliminary notices by June 1, after the state and districts get a more accurate picture of the budget for the next year, with final termination to be required before Aug. 1, Huff said.

“We have to put an end to the practice of causing teachers to think they are going to lose their job, then turning around and telling them ‘never mind,’ ” Huff said in a statement. “It’s cruel. Everyone thinks their job is in jeopardy, which creates anxiety for the teachers’ families, students and communities.”

The California Teachers Assn. has not yet taken an official position on the Huff bill but has opposed previous attempts to shorten the notification period, according to spokeswoman Claudia Briggs.

“The current deadlines give employees a reasonable opportunity to find work in other districts that may have openings,’’ Briggs said. “Deadlines proposed in SB 559 would mean teachers, librarians, nurses, counselors and other certificated personnel could have as little time as two weeks to find a new position elsewhere.’’

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patrick.mcgreevy@latimes.com


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