Pasadena School Board Approves Resolution to Begin Notifications of Over 100 Job Eliminations

Wide-ranging proposed cuts are so widespread, Pasadena Unified graduation requirements may have to be re-written, says one Board member

Published : Friday, March 9, 2018 | 6:20 AM

Pasadena School Board

Acting on its Financial Stabilization Plan presented to the Los Angeles County Office of Education last month partly to stave off a takeover by County officials, the Pasadena Unified School District Board of Education passed a resolution Thursday evening to start the process of selecting and notifying more than 100 full-time District employees their positions will be eliminated at the end of the current 2017-2018 school year.

The potential layoff of some 103 teachers and non-teaching employees is one of the steps the District proposes to take to deal with its budget deficit.

The resolution lists 53 elementary school teachers, eight middle school teachers, nine high school teachers, eight resource teachers, two STEAM coaches, and two assistant high school principals.

The proposed job eliminations are so widespread, one Board member noted, that District’s graduation requirements may have to be re-written.

“These cuts are far more targeted than we have been in the past” said Pasadena Unified Superintendent Dr. Brian McDonald.

The Board took into account any District resignations in compiling the list, according to the resolution.

“The Board has considered all assured attrition known at the time of this resolution,” said the resolution. “‘Assured attrition’ is defined, for purposes of this resolution, to include resignations received, and to be effective no later than the end of the current school year. The number of employees to be laid off has been reduced to reflect assured attrition known at the time of this resolution.”

Before the meeting, School Board Member Kimberly Kenne explained that the Board faced a deadline to make this decision.

“March 15th is part of the State Education Code, which says, for certificated employees, teachers, nurses or counselors or librarians or psychologists, or principals or central administrators, anyone who is certificated rather than classified as their personnel designation, by March 15th, we have to give them a notice that we may reduce their position,” Kenne said.

In addition, according to the approved resolution, the board may “deviate” from its choices, and select or reject the elimination of positions, based on a seniority plan.

The resolution also stated that “The Board has determined that due to a significant population of English language learners with specialized educational needs, a specific and compelling need exists to employ and retain certificated employees who have authorization to teach English Learner (“EL”) students, as determined by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, and the special training and experience that comes therewith.”

Such teaching positions would be not be included in the layoffs.

Teachers possessing appropriate “EL” authorization and whose current assignment requires authorization to instruct English Language Learners, are not being notified.

During the comments portion of the meeting, Pasadena High School Health teacher Sean McNeley pleaded with the Board not to eliminate Health teachers, saying, “Never has there been a greater need for health information. Public health risks are on the rise. We also have to teach students about empathy and kindness.”

McNeley told the Board that mental health counseling is important in an atmosphere of rising school violence and shootings.

Board Member Kenne also objected to the idea of health teachers being eliminated.

“Who will teach those classes?,” she asked. “Science teachers can’t teach biology and science and health all at once.”

Kenne noted that five units of health education is a graduation requirement.

“I don’t want to remove health classes from graduation requirements by releasing all the health teachers,” she said.

Board Member Patrick Cahalan agreed with Kenne, saying that he wanted the issue of health teachers agendized for the next School Board meeting, “or I might just hold my breath until I pass out.”

Dr. Elizabeth Blanco, PUSD Chief of Specialized Instructional Services, told Kenne that there seven elements to health instruction, and that those elements could be integrated into other classes.

Superintendent McDonald, noting the intensity of the discussion, offered that the issue “allows us to have a discussion about health as a graduation requirement.”

Both Kenne and Cahalan also took issue with the idea of eliminating librarian positions, and offered a substitute motion on the resolution vote, one which did not include librarians. Superintendent McDonald told Kenne, that the recent Board-approved PUSD Financial Stabilization Plan included the proposed job cuts, and to change it would affect the Plan’s approval by the County.

‘I would not recommend this idea,” said McDonald. The substitute motion failed, 5-2.

The subsequent motion to approve the resolution as written, passed unanimously.


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