Layoffs cancelled, K-3 class sizes likely saved

The Castro Valley School District has cancelled the layoffs of 18 permanent teachers announced in March.

It was possible for the district to save the teachers’ positions because there are enough teachers resigning or retiring, among other factors.

But losing teachers even through resignations or retirements and not replacing them could mean larger classes and concerns the Castro Valley Teachers Association (CVTA).

“We still want smaller classes, so the students can succeed all the way through school,” said John Green, a CVHS history teacher and also president of CVTA. “The district should use the millions of dollars that they have saved in their reserves to pay for smaller classes. The money should be used to educate kids, not to sit in the bank.”

Other reasons that the district is keeping the teachers include school sites using carryover funding and $150,000 that the district received from the Regional Occupational Program (ROP).

“We are fortunate to have one-time funds and site carryover funding to prevent further cuts,”  said Superintendent Jim Negri. “The district needs to conclude negotiations and wait for the May budget revision and the November election. The district is still making $1.8 million in budget reductions.” That figure is less than the $2.4 million in cuts which officials had expected.

Luckily, the district rescinded the layoffs a month before it had too.  The teachers got a stress-free week during spring break, with the knowledge that they still had a job to come back to the following year.

“I was happy that they did this a month before they had to,” said Green.

Many teachers still get to keep their jobs.  But even with this bright improvement, teachers, parents, and students are still striving for smaller classes.

Kindergarten, first, second and third grade classrooms will keep class sizes of 25 students, according to a tentative agreement between the district and union. Larger class sizes had been considered as a budget-cutting measure.

The decision to call off the layoffs does not guarantee that the district’s temporary teachers will keep their jobs.

“It’s a good start, but it is not enough,” Green said.

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