Every year around this time the School Board sends out pink slips to teachers, something about being legally obligated to by a certain date, my memory is fuzzy on the details but I know it happens almost every single year. (Here’s the one for 2013) Usually these are to temporary employees or to teachers who have less tenure. Almost always the teachers who receive pink slips are asked back, but because of the uncertainty around funding the District is legally obligated to send out these pink slips just in case they don’t have the enrollment for all the teachers.
For some reason, unlike last year, this has become a big deal. On the Teachers’ Union’s Facebook page, there is a call to mobilize bodies for tonight’s School Board meeting to speak out against this routine practice. Also on tonight’s agenda is an update on the budget which outlines the dates when the numbers from the State budget will be released. While this call to action is suggesting that the District is well aware of how much it will receive from Governor Brown next year, according to the budget slide, it won’t be until late May that the numbers roll in from the Governor’s revised budget proposal, meaning that any numbers that the District is currently using are projections only and not definitive totals.
As of now, the District has to work on the assumption that nothing has changed and they must budget for next school year with the most conservative numbers in order to not have any nasty surprises if for some reason the extra money promised by the state does not materialize. While no one wants to get a pink slip, on the other hand it would be worse if the district budgeted on rosy projections and they fell through and then there would be no money to pay all the teachers that were retained. I realize that the relationship between the District and the Union is a naturally adversarial one, but that doesn’t mean that one side has to be knee jerk critical of everything that comes out of the other side, it’s just not productive.
I will note that it’s interesting to see that a relative of a former City Council member calling for teachers to strike over what really is something pretty routine that happens practically every year. I’m not sure how that is any good for Alameda students if the teachers were to strike over something relatively benign such as this.