School Cuts Looming: Who gets a pink slip?

Teachers talk about what determines who will be laid off.

May 08, 2010|By Max Zimbert

Nooneh Gasparian has only ever known Glendale Unified schools.

She is a fourth-grade teacher at Columbus Elementary School, where she began as a kindergartner.

She attended Toll Middle School and graduated Hoover High in 2000.

And next week, she’ll find out how likely it is that she’ll be laid off.

“It’s not something I can do anything about,” she said. “I can’t stress about it or put myself down [about] the not-knowing, the waiting period of maybe you’ll get rescinded, maybe you won’t, we don’t know the numbers, that kind of situation.”


The 28-year-old, who’s getting married in July, is a born teacher. As a first- and second-grader, she’d come home and talk to her stuffed animals as though they were her students.

“And sometimes I would even have my dad come and pretend he’s a student,” she said.

Gasparian is one of the 105 Glendale Unified teachers who received pink slips in March, among the more than 26,000 California teachers who received lay-off notices.

By May 15, the number of layoffs for the Glendale district is expected to fall to between 50 and 71.

Layoffs are determined by seniority. Gasparian’s been credited with about five years of service in Glendale Unified, as her time working an educational assistant at Columbus in 2001 did not count for purposes of the seniority.

Neither her effectiveness, attitude, nor the achievements of her students are part of the equation.

After May 15, the rankings become a rehire list, but seniority is still the rule.

The more senior Gasparian is, the more likely she’ll have a teaching job in Glendale Unified in the fall.

Included in the group of 105 Glendale Unified teachers are 10- and 20-year veteran teachers.

There are parents — some single, some married. Many are still paying off student loans.

They have different takes on their union, the Glendale Unified Board of Education, the state fiscal crisis and whether the teaching profession has lost its luster.

Some, like 37-year-old Cynthia Landeros, a first-grade teacher at Edison Elementary School, are sending out resumes, hoping that there’s a charter, private or some other school hiring because she knows of very few public school districts that are.

“I’m resigned to the fact that I’m going to be let go,” she said.

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