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Pink slips going to classified workers next
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Manteca teachers plan ‘Pink Friday’ protest

Joining a statewide groundswell of alarm over public school cuts, teachers from Manteca Unified School District will stand up for schools and students with a protest on Friday, March 13, against the local impacts of more than $11.6 billion in state budget education funding cuts.

The “Pink Friday Rally” – so named because of the traditional color of preliminary layoff notice slips plus the fact this Friday is the last day California school districts can legally lay-off tenured teachers for the next school year – is Friday from 4 to 5 p.m. at the corner of Louise Avenue and North Main Street.

“The new state budget makes what is the largest single budget cut ever made to public education in California,” said Ken Johnson, president of the Manteca teachers. “Our state already ranks 47th in education funding. These new cuts will impact an entire generation of children and escalate California’s race to the bottom in education funding.  Rather than using a scalpel to balance our budget, the school board has decided to use a meat cleaver.  Please attend (tonight’s) school board meeting at 7 p.m. and voice your concerns over this decision.  We are asking for the public’s support in this matter by joining with us on Friday.”

The event here is part of the California Teachers Association’s statewide “Pink Friday” day of protest.  Some 322 pink slips were approved by the school board, or over 25% of the Manteca teachers. The actual number of teacher layoffs will depend on the district’s financial situation.

The Manteca Educators Association is affiliated with the 340,000-member California Teachers Association and the 3.2 million-member National Education Association.

As part of the $23.5 million budget-reduction plan, the Manteca Unified School District Board of Trustees could give the OK towards laying off several classified employees at tonight’s 7 o’clock meeting in the new administration building, 2901 E. Louise Ave.

Included are the full-time positions to the director of information technology, desktop support supervisor, and secretary to the administrator of school readiness.

 The lay-off list also includes two office managers at the school annexes along with two custodians, and a clerk typist II for the First Five school readiness program.

Due to the financial deficit for 2009-10, school districts are required to provide 45-day notices for those identified in the classified positions. Yet the education code has some benefits for employees taking voluntary demotions along those with length of service.

Those accepting voluntary demotions in the assigned time in lieu of layoff, according to the Education Code 45298, shall be “at the option of the employee, returned to a position in their former class or to positions with increased time as vacancies become available, but if there is a valid reemployment list they shall be ranked on that list in accordance with their proper seniority.”

The board, meanwhile, has already approved layoff notices to over 25 percent of the district’s teaching staff. The Manteca Educators Association, as a way of bringing awareness to the severe statewide cuts to public education of $11.6 billion, is planning a “Pink Friday Rally” from 3 to 5 p.m. on March 13 at the intersection of Louise Avenue and Main Street.

According to the state, layoff notices to those positions are required to be submitted by the March 15 deadline.

Other agenda items include:

The board, in closed session, could appoint two or more principals at the elementary sites along with naming a dean of athletics / secondary education teacher at East Union High to replace the retiring Bill Stricker.

Trustees will consider acquiring 2.5 acres adjacent to French Camp School offered by the Beattie family for a total of $272,587, with Measure M money accounting for most of the purchase and $2,986 from the general fund to absorb the difference.

Board President Michael Seelye, based on the second interim financial report for 2008-09, is scheduled to sign a positive certification declaring Manteca Unified will be able to meet its financial obligations for the remainder of this fiscal year and subsequent two years.

Superintendent Jason Messer will announce the restructuring plan at the district office along with a budget update.

For more information, contact the district office at (209) 825-3200.