Teachers back on the job


The last 48 teachers affected by RIF [Reduction In Force] in the Glendale school district were notified on Monday morning they would be rehired for the new school year.

“Welcome home,” said Mary Boger, member of the Glendale Unified School board.

The teachers had been officially notified in March they were not going to have a job in the 2010-11 Glendale district school year due to the budget. Class sizes were to be increased to a 34-to-1 student to teacher ratio. Fewer classrooms meant fewer teachers were needed. However, financial help is expected from the federal front, which allows the district to reduce the classroom size to 24.5-to-1.

The district had to send out notices by March 15 of any layoffs. It did this with the hope of bringing back many of the teachers, said David Samuelson, the newly hired assistant superintendent, Human Resources.

Since March the district has been bringing teachers back a little at a time as attrition made possible. On Monday, the last 48 teachers were gathered at the school district and told they would be rehired.

“We don’t know what school you will be assigned to yet,” said Superintendent Richard Sheehan. “You will be getting a letter from HR rescinding the [dismissal] and a letter from the principal of the school [you have been assigned to].”

Teachers were happy and relieved when the word was given. When Boger welcomed them home, there was applause and “thank you” heard from many.

Teacher Yvonne Quinonez was awarded Teacher of the Year at Dunsmore Elementary School last year. She was also one of the teachers that was caught in the RIF net.

“We are thankful and appreciate [the district bringing] us back,” Quinonez said.

But for some like Quinonez the roller coaster ride of emotions the teachers have been on since the notifications will not end with this announcement.

“It is a relief but it has been very stressful,” Quinonez said.

She had been officially told in March but said she had known of the possibility since February. She is a mother of two and the prospect of losing the family’s second paycheck was frightening. What made it
even more difficult was that Quinonez was only a few months away from being a permanent teacher, which would mean she would not have been laid off.

“This year I will be permanent,” she added.

Sheehan told the teachers they would come back to the district with the same seniority with which they left.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the House back into session to address the bill that would extend the stimulus package enacted last year. If passed, that bill would provide the districts with needed funds. The bill had been stalled in the Senate for weeks due to a filibuster, which was broken last week.

The House voted to approve the bill and was immediately signed into law by President Barack Obama.

Both Sheehan and Boger said they were rehiring the teachers as a leap of faith that the bill would be passed.

The money is one time funds, Sheehan stressed.

“We are sorry you had to go through this whole process.  It is our hope that you won’t have to repeat this …. but unfortunately it is uncertain times right now,” he added.