In March, San Diego Unified issued more than 900 layoff notices to school staff, and it was clear that the schools hardest hit by the layoffs were going to be the district’s poorest schools. But budgets change, people retire, numbers get reworked, and the district’s board recently announced it expects the layoffs to hit fewer than 200 district workers (though it hasn’t released final layoff numbers yet). Despite that, the pain of layoffs will probably still sting low-income schools the worst, writes Maya Srikrishnan, thanks to the way layoffs roll through the school systems in California.
“Even once layoff notices are rescinded, the process has a bigger impact on low-income schools, which tend to have more junior employees,” Srikrishnan writes. “Budget cuts can eliminate a position in one school or in the central office, but if the employee in that position is more senior, he or she will be bumped to a different position, where a more junior employee may have been – and that junior employee will either be bumped to another position or laid off.” As churning teachers scramble for the best possible positions, it rolls down to the least wealthy schools, which get an onslaught of new employees who don’t know the school or its students.
• School board Trustee John Lee Evans writes in the Union-Tribune the district needs to do a better job making its budget understandable to the public so we can understand the layoff process.
Cities Squabble Over Sewage Rights
Coronado has emerged victorious from a lawsuit over whether the small island community would control 200,000 gallons of sewage it expects to result from a new 170-acre Navy facility being built nearby. Imperial Beach had also laid claim to the trove of human waste, and an unusual argument broke out: too many people wanted to get their hands on a whole bunch of sewage. The court case was one sign that sewage has become a valuable commodity in recent years as water agencies across California work on recycling projects to turn it into water that’s clean enough to spread on lawns or even drink.
Test Re-Takes Prompt Lawsuit
A saga continues to unfold in Scripps Ranch, where some 500 high school students may be forced to re-take their Advanced Placement exams. The district originally said there no reason to believe any cheating took place and that the retesting would happen because of an error in spacing students apart while they took the exams. But that’s not true: Cheating was discovered on at least one student’s exam. On Thursday, the Board of Trustees voted to file a lawsuit over the issue, after an outcry by “hundreds of angry students and parents,” reports the Union-Tribune.
Students caught up in the fiasco should be warned: Being forced to re-take AP exams is what you’ll be having stress nightmares about for the next 15 years, regardless of how this turns out.