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104 Teachers Officially Lose Jobs in La Mesa-Spring Valley Schools

The governing board took action Tuesday in time to beat a May 15 notification deadline.

La Mesa and Spring Valley schools will lose about 17 percent of their teachers next school year.

The district governing board Tuesday night voted 5-0 to lay off 104 teachers, counselors and other certificated employees. The district has about 600 certificated employees this year.

Their last day of work is June 10, the final day of the school year, according to schools Superintendent Brian Marshall, who said Wednesday that a breakdown of  layoffs by school site would be available in the next day or two.

“We are working on that right now,” Marshall said.

He also noted that all laid off faculty members are eligible for rehire, and teachers can be substitutes in the district.

“A laid off teacher would be rehired to fill a vacancy (retirement, leave etc.) and/or to fill a new position—better than projected enrollment next year,” he said.

The board voted early this year to increase class sizes, which reduced the need for teachers, and keep sixth-grade students at their elementary schools, which reduced the need for middle school teachers.

Other cost-cutting measures were taken.

More than 30 middle school teachers in various subjects, English, science, math, physical education, art, were officially laid off Tuesday.

No protests occurred Tuesday night. Most of the heated debate took place at board meetings before the state-required March 15 deadline to issue preliminary layoff notices to teachers.

The district issued 115 layoff notices in March. The figure was trimmed to 104 due largely to changes in enrollment, officials said. An administrative judge ordered that two middle school teachers be dropped from the layoff list also.

As well, the district rescinded layoff notices to Erin Bland, Katherine Halloran,
Joe Malek, Ann McCafferty, Anna Packham and Jennifer Weber.

The La Mesa-Spring Valley School District, like most across the state, is bracing for severe state funding reductions next school year.

“We may be able to rescind some people,” said Claudia Bender, the district’s assistant superintendent of personnel. “We don’t know anything about the governor’s budget until the May revise. Gov. Jerry Brown is expected to release a revised state budget plan this month that could include severe cuts to public schools.”

The district, which has more than 12,500 students and a $100 million budget, has been working on addressing a projected $9 million deficit most of the year. The board has until the end of June to adopt a budget.

The school board, meeting at at its Date Avenue headquarters in La Mesa, took action on a night when it honored its employees and top volunteer:

  • Marianne Ek, third-grade teacher at Fletcher Hills Elementary in El Cajon, was named Teacher of the Year. She is among three third-grade teachers at the school who helped bring new technology into their classrooms. Students are using iPods this year to learn. Ek credited the other third-grade teachers, Dana Bockstahler and Annette El-Hajj, for her nomination.
  • Junior Guzman, who works in the after-school program at Kempton Elementary in Spring Valley, and Carole Paone, who works in the district’s maintenance department.
  • LaDreda Lewis, a former district teacher and dean, received the Rose Award given by the La Mesa-Spring Valley Educational Foundation for her volunteer work. Lewis, who operates three Sylvan Learning Center sites in the county, is active at Spring Valley Middle School, where she founded an after-school girls program several years ago.  The group organizes an annual girls’ conference.
  • The board also voted to reappoint Steve Babbitt and Jada Martinez to the Citizens Bond Oversight Committee. Each will serve another two-year term.
mamabear May 07, 2011 at 05:49 PM
As a parent of students in La mesa Spring Valley School District for 8 years, I am heartbroken over what is happening in our district. The article states: "The board voted early this year to increase class sizes, which reduced the need for teachers, and keep sixth-grade students at their elementary schools, which reduced the need for middle school teachers." The school board reduced the need for teachers? My children still need teachers. This year, we donated supplies such as paper, tissues, pencils, glue sticks, pens, hand sanitizer... I ask you Mr. Marshall and School Board, did you bring or buy your own paper this year? Did you have to beg for donations so that you could do your job? We should fund classrooms first, then cut spending on the way up to the district office, NOT the other way around. I cannot believe we are going to expect our teachers to teach bigger classes with less. It is likely we will pull our daughter from LMSVSD if things do not change soon.

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