School District Prepares to Pink Slip Workers

Due to an unclear budget picture, SM-FCSD is forced to consider lay offs.

The San Mateo-Foster City School District Board of Trustees considered approving issuing pink slips to nearly 90 employees last night due to budget concerns, but administration is hopeful to rehire most of the workers who may be laid off before the beginning of next school year.

Classified employees stand to suffer a majority of the job cuts as the school board in closed session Thursday night approved laying off 62 of the district's workers who do not have teaching credentials.

As well, the board may issue additional pink slips to 20 certificated employees, or those who work as teachers and administrators, due to uncertainty surrounding the district and state budget.

The district's deadline to submit a tentative budget is March 15, before a final annual budget is due two months later on May 15.

But Donna Lewis, head of the district's human resources department, said she believed that all but a few employees would be re-hired before final cuts must be approved.

Lewis said the initial announcement of layoffs are largely procedural, as it is commonplace for district to project a conservative budget in order to prepare for the worst fiscal scenario possible.

But once the district and state's budget picture becomes more clear toward the end of the school year, Lewis said it is safe to assume that many of the employees issued tentative releases will be brought back in time for the following fall semester.

Lewis also said that some of the certificated positions are funded through contributions to the district by the local parent teacher organization and education fund which work to raise money that is donated in order to help backfill some of the budget gap.

But neither organization has announced how much money will be contributed to the district's coffer, which makes it impossible for administration to project how many employees can be hired through that donation.

The primary reason though that the district cannot project a clear budget portrait is due to the state budget crisis. Governor Jerry Brown is relying heavily on the passage of tax measures in the fall elections in order to fund the state public education system to the fullest extent possible.

But in the past, Brown has struggled to gain the support necessary in the state legislature to get the tax measures to the ballot. And many critics oppose raising taxes during a time when the economy is remains weak.

Ultimately, without the certain influx of tax funding at the state level, the district must prepare for the worst case scenario.


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