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District cancels many pink slips

Molly Shore

School district administrators have rescinded 160 preliminary

termination notices, five weeks after telling nearly 25% of the

district’s teachers, certificated employees and administrators that

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they might not have a job next year.

Ninety-two workers still face the ax because of an anticipated

$4-million shortage from the state. The district has until May 15 to

send final termination notices.

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Laura Mixon, a first-grade teacher at McKinley Elementary School,

had her job spared. The six-year employee said she is not looking

elsewhere for a teaching position, although she did get applications

from the Los Angeles Unified School District and the Saugus Union

School District when she received her preliminary notice.

“I’m hopeful that we won’t have to go through this again,” Mixon

said. “But this is more proof that you never know what will happen.”

Nancy Gascich, the district’s personnel services director, said

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her office was able to rescind the notices because of new information

from the state.

Administrators were told the state will not eliminate smaller

class sizes, which keeps kindergarten through third-grade classes at

no more than 20 students.

The rumor mill in Sacramento hinted that the adult school might

have to rely on block-grant funding next year, but Gascich said that

is not the case. The district anticipates it will have sufficient

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funding to bring back a large portion of English as a second

language, adult parenting and adult education classes, as well as the

adult tutoring program.

The district also will be able to provide the Regional

Occupational Program next year, which had been in question. However,

the district has not heard how much money its programs will receive

from the state next year.

Issuing the 252 termination notices became necessary when no

information was coming from Sacramento, Gascich said.

“The effect is that it has gotten Sacramento’s attention, and even

though it devastated teachers, maybe that’s what had to happen to get

[the legislators’] attention,” Gascich said.

Kim Allender, Burbank Teachers’ Assn. co-president, said that even

with the recision of the layoff notices, the district might lose as

many as two dozen teachers.

“I know of people already who have made the decision to leave, and

other people who have been so disgusted with the way they’ve been

treated, that they might leave, too,” Allender said.

Cate Conwell, a fourth-grade teacher at Miller Elementary School,

did not wait to see if her termination would be rescinded. As soon as

she received her preliminary notice, Conwell applied at the Saugus

Union School District and was hired. She begins her new post in

August.


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