School District Can’t Say How Many Employees It Has or How Many Were Laid Off for Good

San Diego, CA (VOSD) – Schools across San Diego start a new school year Monday, but school district officials still won’t say how many of the 1,500-plus employees who received layoff notices earlier this year were actually laid off.

San Diego Unified leaders recently slashed employee ranks and other programs to help cut more than $124 million in spending from the 2017-18 budget. The district also coughed up money for early retirementincentives to create 1,128 vacancies and rehire some laid off employees. That was back in May.

How many total layoffs actually stuck is still anyone’s guess.

District officials would only confirm teacher layoffs dropped to 170, something Superintendent Cindy Marten indicated could happen in June. That means the district recalled 782 teachers out of 952 issued pink slips, or 82 percent.

Some of the 170 teachers laid off, though, are returning this year on temporary contracts. Neither district officials, nor teachers union president Lindsay Burningham, responded to requests for that number.

The district did not provide updated layoff numbers for non-teaching staff, who may end up bearing the brunt of the cuts.

Union representatives for staff like clerical workers and special education assistants also don’t know how many of their laid off employees were ultimately called back for duty, despite requests made to human resources for that information.

“HR is a mess and we have been requesting rehire lists and recall lists for those who lost hours, but have not received anything ourselves,” said Sabrina Hahnlein, former president of the paraeducators union, a group that includes special needs assistants, child development center workers and others.

In March, the district reported issuing 1,576 layoff notices, but that number went up and down in the months that followed.

Also unclear: just how many employees San Diego Unified has.

Voice of San Diego sought several years of staffing data on March 6. Staff has not said when the information will be provided.

In June, a spokeswoman provided stats that offer an imperfect picture of the workforce. The district had nearly 12,934 budgeted positions last December, which may or may not have been filled. That number includes full- and part-time jobs. The numbers did show budgeted positions were up last year compared with 2013, even though the student population fell.

San Diego Unified’s general fund spending is projected to total $1.3 billion in 2017-18, down from $1.37 billion last school year. The general fund deficit for the new school year is down to $15.4 million.

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This article was prepared by Ashly McGlone for Voice of San Diego.