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City Heights Elementary School Could Lose All But Two Teachers

Evening Edition

Above: Eileen Moreno, principal of Fay Elementary, where 27 out of 29 teachers received pink slips.

Aired 6/7/12 on KPBS Midday Edition.

Kyla Calvert, KPBS Education Reporter

Eileen Moreno, Principal of Fay Elementary, 27 out of 29 teachers received pink slips at her school.

Transcript

Special Feature Speak City Heights

Speak City Heights is a media collaborative aimed at amplifying the voices of residents in one of San Diego’s most diverse neighborhoods. (Read more)

At Fay Elementary School, 27 out of 29 teachers received layoff notices this year. This means the elementary school in the City Heights neighborhood could start the year with almost all new teachers.

Eileen Moreno, principal of the school, said more schools in San Diego’s low-income neighborhoods have incurred layoff notices this year and in past years.

She said she thinks this pattern happens because it is more challenging to work in low income schools, so teachers who have been working for longer will move on to higher income schools. Because layoffs go by seniority—with newer teachers being laid off first—schools like Fay with newer teachers will see more layoffs.

If you look at schools with high numbers of layoffs, “there’s a pattern that jumps out at you,” she said. “They’re the low poverty schools.”

“I think that the blame game can go around in circles,” she said. “Fundamentally, though, I think we have a problem with equity.”

Moreno said 17 of her teachers have eight or nine years of seniority. Most of the remaining teachers have been working for six or seven years.

“We keep thinking every year, this time, we’re safe,” she said. “Every year for the past five years we thought we’re safe, but apparently, we’re not.

“This time the layoffs went all the way back to 10 years.”

In 2012, 1,633 pink slips were issued to San Diego teachers in March. In May, 1,534 final layoff notices were issued.

For the last five tears, many of Fay’s teachers received initial layoff notices, but in past years, those notices were rescinded.

“This is the first time where we got to the point where they received their final layoff letter,” Moreno said. “This has never happened before.”

On Monday, teachers who were not laid off can bid on open positions. The school will then interview applicants and could end up with all new teachers.

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