Schools across San Diego start a new school year Monday, but school district officials still won’t say how many of the 1,500-plus employees who received layoff notices earlier this year were actually laid off.

San Diego Unified leaders recently slashed employee ranks and other programs to help cut more than $124 million in spending from the 2017-18 budget. The district also coughed up money for early retirement incentives to create 1,128 vacancies and rehire some laid off employees. That was back in May.

How many total layoffs actually stuck is still anyone’s guess.

District officials would only confirm teacher layoffs dropped to 170, something Superintendent Cindy Marten indicated could happen in June. That means the district recalled 782 teachers out of 952 issued pink slips, or 82 percent.

Some of the 170 teachers laid off, though, are returning this year on temporary contracts. Neither district officials, nor teachers union president Lindsay Burningham, responded to requests for that number.

The district did not provide updated layoff numbers for non-teaching staff, who may end up bearing the brunt of the cuts.


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Union representatives for staff like clerical workers and special education assistants also don’t know how many of their laid off employees were ultimately called back for duty, despite requests made to human resources for that information.

“HR is a mess and we have been requesting rehire lists and recall lists for those who lost hours, but have not received anything ourselves,” said Sabrina Hahnlein, former president of the paraeducators union, a group that includes special needs assistants, child development center workers and others.

In March, the district reported issuing 1,576 layoff notices, but that number went up and down in the months that followed.

Also unclear: just how many employees San Diego Unified has.

Voice of San Diego sought several years of staffing data on March 6. Staff has not said when the information will be provided.

In June, a spokeswoman provided stats that offer an imperfect picture of the workforce. The district had nearly 12,934 budgeted positions last December, which may or may not have been filled. That number includes full- and part-time jobs. The numbers did show budgeted positions were up last year compared with 2013, even though the student population fell.

San Diego Unified’s general fund spending is projected to total $1.3 billion in 2017-18, down from $1.37 billion last school year. The general fund deficit for the new school year is down to $15.4 million.

    This article relates to: Education, School Finances, School Leadership

    Written by Ashly McGlone

    Ashly is an investigative reporter for Voice of San Diego. She can be reached at ashly.mcglone@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5669.

    6 comments
    mike murphy
    mike murphy

    people got wise to this yearly bluff long ago

    Bill Bradshaw
    Bill Bradshaw subscribermember

    Picky, picky!  Aren't you asking too much from an organization that has only a little over a billion bucks in it's budget.  What do you expect, weekly rosters by department and job title like I used to get as H.R. director in my company?  Of course I retired over 20 years ago and perhaps that technology has been lost or replaced by something better, like lists that mean something only to the people who have the codes?


    You are simply being stonewalled, my dear.  It's public information request time.    

    merlot4251
    merlot4251 subscriber

    I wonder how many of the 1576 initial layoffs found other employment and departed while the district was running around in circles. Not very inviting environment when your job is out, no it is back in, oops you really are out. 

    philip piel
    philip piel subscriber

    @merlot4251


    Not many, the layoff notices per union contract must come out before school funding is finalized. This game is designed to create a crises used as a weapon by organized labor on up the chain to senior administration. Google teacher layoffs that actually occurred verses notices given. If you want to have a lot of fun try researching how many tenured teachers have been fired for cause. It's harder to win the lottery than fire a tenured teacher.

    philip piel
    philip piel subscriber

    Relax folks, rampant cheating aside, graduation rates are at an all time high. School board members are re-elected and school bond money isn't going to local non-union scab contractors, we have just what we asked for now join Lorena Gonzolas and bring the same stellar accountability track record to SANDAG!

    John Porter
    John Porter subscriber

    That's why we call it Shi**y Schools.  The district never has and never will know what it's doing....