BUSD Sends Out Pink Slips to Classified Employees

By Riya Bhattacharjee
Thursday April 23, 2009 - 07:12:00 PM

The Berkeley Unified School District sent out at least 62 pink slips to classified employees on April 16 to offset cuts to state public education funding, district officials said.  

On April 15, the Berkeley Board of Education voted unanimously to approve the cuts, which will take place at the end of the current school year.  

The district is required to notify classified employees 45 days in advance of their last working day.  

Berkeley Council of Classified Employees President Paula Philips told the Daily Planet that the district sent out 57 layoff notices to her bargaining unit, including paraprofessionals working in classrooms, office technical staff, secretaries, clerks and accountants in business services and others.  

Philips said that some members of Local 39, the union for stationary engineers working in Berkeley’s public schools, would also receive the notices.  

“It’s a disruption to their lives,” Philips said of the layoffs. “It’s a morale buster. There’s a lot of uncertainty. They want to know if they will get unemployment over the summer, if they are entitled to unemployment and if they will be called back by the district.”  

District officials said they would be doing their best to rescind the layoffs.  

However, Superintendent Bill Huyett remarked that the worst was not over yet, because more classified jobs might be slashed in the future.  

Philips said 11 classified employees at the Berkeley Adult School—including clerks, budget analysts and computer technicians—would have their work hours and months per year reduced, since the adult education program was planning to move from a 12-month schedule to a 10- or 11-month schedule next year to offset a $1 million budget deficit.  

The board will approve the schedule change at a later date.