102 layoffs, including 77 teachers, approved by Sacramento City Unified school board

The Sacramento City Unified School District approved 102 layoffs Thursday evening as it continues to struggle financially and contends with a possible government takeover.

The district’s Board of Education unanimously voted to authorize the layoffs, which will affect only certificated employees and 77 of which will affect teaching positions. Most of the teachers who face layoffs were hired less than a year ago, district spokesman Alex Barrios said.

The district will eliminate a total of 178 full-time positions, Barrios said, but only 102 employees will be terminated as other positions were removed through attrition.

Among those who will be laid off include the district’s only visual and performing arts coordinator and its only GATE, or Gifted and Talented Education, and AP, or Advanced Placement, coordinator, board President Jessie Ryan said.

“The level of coordination of those programs will not be the same,” SCUSD Chief Academic Officer Iris Taylor said.

Even one of her own daughter’s former teachers was among those who now faces a layoff, Ryan said.

“We are trying to remain hopeful but the fact is that we have a clock ticking and weeks to avoid a deficit that could result in a state takeover,” Ryan said.

The district is up against a $35 million budget deficit and expects to run out of cash by November.

The final layoff notices must be sent out by May 15. Some layoffs among classified employees in the district have already been made, Barrios said.

The certificated layoffs were first announced Tuesday, less than a week after a court-appointed arbitrator ruled in favor of the Sacramento City Teachers Association in a disagreement over a pay increase brokered in November 2017.

The teachers union has a second strike scheduled for May 22. Hundreds of teachers walked out on a one-day strike on April 11, resulting in about 52 percent student attendance for the day.

The Bee’s Sawsan Morrar contributed to this report.

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