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Glendale Unified scrambling to finish staffing

With layoffs up in the air for so long, schools still aren't sure who's teaching where.

August 21, 2010|By Max Zimbert, max.zimbert@latimes.com

GLENDALE — Every day until Aug. 30 will be a frantic one as Glendale Unified teachers and officials finalize school staffing plans, officials said.

District officials are scrambling to assign teachers to schools, or move teachers back to their original campus. In the last two months, teachers have been reassigned, transferred or rehired, creating a coordination nightmare, said Tami Carlson, president of the Glendale Teachers Assn.

"Usually, elementary teachers are in classrooms now setting up … and most of these teachers haven't been told where they are going, so I'm sure all these people are freaking out," she said. "It's a hassle, and teachers are under the gun to get it ready, but we'd rather have that than larger class size."

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In June, the Board of Education approved a slimmer budget and 66 teacher layoffs. District officials rehired or promoted teachers throughout the summer to lower the final number of layoffs to 48. Then an influx of federal aid allowed administrators to offer all the jobs back. But of those, 38 have been contacted, of which all but four have said they are returning, said Dave Samuelson, the assistant superintendent of human resources.

"We're giving the teachers a very short turnaround time to give us 'yay' or 'nay' because we have to get staffed," he said. "I've been an administrator since 1984, and I've never seen anything like this [during] this time of year."

Many of the laid-off teachers had always intended to return, said Kim Hughes, a Columbus Elementary teacher who was laid off and accepted a position at a charter school.

"I love Glendale and totally would've come back had I had more notice," she said.

Glendale Unified officials offered all its laid-off teachers their jobs back after the federal government approved stimulus spending that could send up to $5 million to the district.

District officials have pledged to try to return staff to their original campuses, but there will be some teacher changes. District Supt. Dick Sheehan said officials have set a goal to have all teachers placed by Aug. 25.

"This is going to be time-intensive," he said. "The logistical nightmare will be when we can't get ahold of someone."

The days leading up to school beginning are usually hectic, and Keppel Elementary School Principal Mary Mason said officials are working well into the night getting everyone ready.

"I wouldn't say anybody's panicked because we're used to getting things ready," she said. "I don't mind it because it means class sizes are coming down."

Classrooms are ready at La Crescenta Elementary, but there are still vacancies to fill, Principal Kim Bishop said.

"We're ready to go, but we just need to know who we're going to go with," she said.

Staffing at Roosevelt Middle School was stress-free, said Principal Lynn Marso, echoing the assessment at Glendale High School.

"It's nothing compared to the elementary schools of my colleagues," said Principal Deb Rinder.

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