California’s newly passed state budget was a big win for teachers, reports the Sacramento Bee. “Lawmakers blocked K-12 districts from laying off teachers for the upcoming fiscal year.” The bill requires districts to maintain last year’s staffing and program levels, even the state could be forced to cut $1.75 billion if optimistic revenue projections aren’t met.
“Districts will be under tremendous pressure to bring people back from layoffs and, if there is a midyear cut, there is no way to lay people off,” said David Gordon, Sacramento County superintendent of schools. “How then do you handle a midyear cut?”
If tax dollars fall short, the budget lets districts cut another seven days from the school year — but only if teachers’ and staff unions agree.
With layoffs off the table, teachers may have more leverage in those discussions to block school-year reductions.
If the rosy scenario doesn’t pan out, and districts can’t lay off teachers or cut pay through shortening the school year, they’ll just have to . . . Hold up gas stations?
Natomas Unified interim Superintendent Walt Hanline called the measure “the most irresponsible piece of legislation I’ve seen in my 35 years in education.”
The California Teachers Association is expected to help fund Democratic efforts to raise taxes on the November 2012 ballot, the Bee notes.