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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

School Board OKs Pink Slips for Six FTE Teachers and Five-plus Nurses

• Majority’s Action Reflects Fiscal ‘Abundance of Caution’

BY JULIE WALLACH


Santa Monica-Malibu’s board of education recommended that 11.6 FTE pink slips be issued for the upcoming school year, based on potential cuts to education that could amount from $3.6–8.8 million.
Debra Moore Washington, assistant superintendent of human resources for the district, stated at the Feb. 17 board meeting that the district is exercising an “abundance of caution” and will “engender flexibility for the district and its programs” by issuing pink slips to six certificated FTEs and 5.6 nursing positions.
“Since we have an Ed Code that provides March 15 deadlines, many districts are asking for resolutions such as this,” Washington stated. Specific reasons for the potential layoffs were presented. “We know that our enrollment is slightly down, particularly in kindergarten for next year, which may mean that we need fewer teachers at the elementary level.”
Washington added, “We don’t know whether Point Dume is going to end up a charter and whether all or some of these teachers will be put back in SMMUSD where we have to make positions for those teachers. We don’t know whether our retirements or temporary releases are going to give us enough flexibility that we need in staffing for next year. We don’t know what our state taxes are going to do.”
Board member and president Jose Escarce recommended the board support the layoffs by stating, “If it turns out that teachers need to be put back in other schools, if kindergarten turns out to be lower than we hope, then we do need flexibility.”
Much planning for next year is contingent upon tax initiatives to be extended for the next five years. Parents statewide recently organized the “Let Us Vote” campaign. Individuals are encouraged to send letters to legislators, urging them to vote in favor of a special election to extend current taxes that will expire on July 1, 2011. According to the campaign website, “Without these tax extensions, our schools could lose an additional $5 billion in funding.”
NURSING POSITIONS
Nursing positions reinstated in December may be terminated in 2011-12
As of the Feb. 17 board meeting, 5.6 FTE nurses will be given pink slips in order to “provide flexibility,” according to Moore Washington, who is hoping that an ad hoc committee created to address nursing positions will complete their work and report to the superintendent by April so that they will know “whether or not those notices that have to be delivered by March 15 will stand or be rescinded.”
According to Moore Washington, the committee’s purpose is to find “another way to put more boots on the ground with the same amount of money and provide a broader breadth of service in health services for students.” This could include “nurses, health clerks and LVNs or something else that will help us to provide better services.”
In Dec. 2010, the board of education restored 2.0 temporary nurse FTEs, supported a superintendent’s task force to examine and present alternative delivery models to be reported on by early March 2011, and develop job descriptions for a health clerk and LVN. Currently, nurses care for students with over 50 health conditions, including asthma, diabetes I and II, fractures, allergies and various psychological/psychiatric issues such as ADHD, anxiety and depression and are an integral part of child abuse reporting, emergency care, employee wellness such as flu shots and TB test renewals; special education student observation; hearing screenings; medical referrals; scoliosis screening; social welfare referrals; and student health counseling.
Board member Nimish Patel spoke of the 11.6 layoffs as a possible “best case scenario” given the state of California’s economy.

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