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Board OKs rankings list

Teachers union plans to have lawyer examine seniority list.

May 12, 2010|By Max Zimbert

GLENDALE — Eighty-three teachers will be notified they could be laid off after Glendale Unified School District Board of Education voted to approve an updated seniority list Tuesday.

The number is less than the 105 pink slips sent out to teachers in March after the school board voted 4 to 1 to potentially increase primary class sizes to 30 students. District officials have been going school by school, trying to create and fill vacancies by shifting teachers where their credentials apply.

Layoffs are determined by seniority, so the new seniority list will dictate which teachers are laid off, and who will be first in line if and when the district decides to start hiring back. The revised list approved Tuesday is without any dual language immersion teachers, who were passed over because of their specialized qualifications.

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“I’m very happy because this list is shorter than it was before,” school board member Christine Walters said. “As painful and as heartbreaking as this is, I’m still clear that this is what’s needed at this time.

School districts can still rehire teachers, even into the 2010-11 school year. But district officials and board members said their hands are tied until a tentative agreement is ratified by the Glendale Teachers Assn. The contract would save the district about $12 million through July 2013, satisfying more than half of the district’s deficit.

“We still have so many enormous unanswered questions . . .  that for us to not stay the course we’ve previously set, I see that as the only option at this point,” Walters said.

In approving the updated seniority list, the Board of Education was accepting all the findings of an administrative law judge. Still, the Glendale Teachers Assn. may dispute some of his findings, union President Tami Carlson said.

As part of the layoff process, the district and the union had hearings to ensure all teachers were ranked properly by their start date, but Carlson said there could still be some irregularities.

“We are having our attorneys look at it because we think there’s something in there that . . . we feel that we’re supported by education code on,” she said. “We’re not objecting to anything right now. We’re taking exception with some of his rulings.”

One parent and one teacher were present for the special session. Minette Garcia, whose daughters are in the dual language immersion program at Edison Elementary School, said she came to the meeting to verify the claims she’s heard from the district and the teachers union.

“We want to keep every teacher we can and we have to convey that,” she said in an interview. “Even as parents, there are things we can do.”

Cheryl Hamel, a first-grade teacher at Valley View Elementary School, received a pink slip after eight years of teaching in Glendale Unified. Her circumstances — she was only given seniority credit for six years — may be part of the union’s legal challenges.

“I think the board can do more, and I think we can wait one more year and look at where we’re at [before increasing class sizes to 30],” she said. “My sisters ask me, ‘How many times are you going to pack up your stuff?’”


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