Decision Ignores Basic Union Right for Arbitrary Line Drawn by Superintendent
On February 28, 2012, at the Superintendent’s request, the Board of Education approved layoff notices for 245 certificated staff (35 Early Education Teachers and 210 K-12 certificated staff) and 249 classified staff. The extreme number of layoff notices, which represents 6.1% of certificated staff and 16.4% of classified staff, was perhaps overshadowed by the decision to exempt teachers from the Superintendent’s Zone Schools from the layoff process.
In exempting teachers in the Zone schools from layoffs, the Superintendent has decided to disregard the fundamental union right of seniority. The resolution makes clear that in his eyes the teachers who work at schools outside his Zone, and the students they serve, are somehow less deserving of protection.
In requesting the resolution, the Superintendent also claims that the students who attend schools in the Zone are qualitatively different from students who attend other schools – both in terms of their socioeconomic status and their test scores. In fact, a quick analysis of the data indicates that the Superintendent hasn’t done his homework.
The Zone schools serve students who match the same demographic and socioeconomic labels as students in non-Zone schools. This is borne out by data from the School Accountability Report Cards (SARCS). Please share these charts with the staff at your school site. They clearly show the arbitrary nature of the Zone designation.
By deciding to skip seniority, the resolution itself may also violate state law. The district admits as much in their press release for the layoffs. UESF has shared the documents with our legal counsel, and will pursue all legal options to stop the arbitrary move.
By voting to bypass the seniority provision in our contract and in state law, the district has unnecessarily politicized the layoff process – pitting teachers and school communities against one another. As the United Educators of San Francisco, we will not accept the bait and we will not be divided.
The hard work and dedication of the teachers and staff at Zone schools is no different than that performed every day by teachers and staff at every other San Francisco school.
Instead of playing the politics of division, the Superintendent should be working with us to pass the Millionaires Tax to provide more money for the schools. He should be working with us to find ways to reduce or eliminate the layoffs, to end the furlough days, and to fully fund our classrooms.
His move has signaled that perhaps it is time for him to move on and join other superintendents who have injected division and disruption in to the district.
Media Reports on Layoffs
ABC 7 Coverage:
SF Examiner 2/29:
SF school board votes to issue pink slips to 485 teachers
SF Chronicle 3/1:
SF schools waive seniority for some in layoffs