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Op/Ed: The Meaning of Layoff Notices at MUSD

Monrovia Unified School District Superintendent Linda Wagner explains why layoff notices have been issued to district employees and what they mean for the future of the district.

You may have heard of one or more teachers or counselors from the , or perhaps another school district in the State of California

What Does a Layoff Notice Mean?

A layoff notice gives an employee notice that they may not be continuing in their employment with the school district. Monrovia Unified School District issues layoffs when it is determined that they are necessary in order to maintain fiscal solvency.

School districts are required by law to issue a notice to any certificated employee who may not be continuing in their positions due to layoffs by March 15. These employee groups include teachers, counselors and others who possess a credential and who are not administrators. There are separate time frames and regulations for administrators.

The timing of this process is a challenge, because the final school budget information from the Governor, called the "May Revise" is not received by school districts until mid-May. This means that in order to meet the March 15 layoff notice deadline, school districts are required to make reasonable estimates about what their budgets will look like before receiving final budget information from the Governor's office. And, they must conservatively approximate the total number of layoffs because they can rescind, which means to take these notices away, but cannot issue them after March 15.

Why Are Layoffs Issued Before the Budget is Final?

Layoff notice dates are dictated by State law. In our opinion the dates by which we are required to issue notices do not make sense. The layoff issue date should come after the Governor's Budget is released in order to more accurately notice the correct number of impacted employees.

Counselor Layoffs In Monrovia Explained

There has been a great deal of attention focused on layoffs notices recently issued to school counselors in Monrovia Unified School District. We want to assure the public that decisions have not been made about reducing the number of secondary counselors in Monrovia.

The situation driving the layoffs is largely this: Monrovia Unified School District presently has a Federal grant funding elementary school counselors. That grant is due to expire. When it does, a number of our counselors will no longer be funded.

In addition to the expiration of the grant, Monrovia faces fiscal uncertainty. An abundance of caution has driven us to give layoff notices to counselors to prepare for the possible scenario that require us to cut our levels of counseling services. The information informing this decision will become available to the Board of Education in mid-May with the Governor's May Revision.

When Will Decisions be Made?

Once the Governor issues the May Revise, our school board will determine the real number of layoffs we anticipate in Monrovia.

What Can I Do to be Heard on this Issue?

We have had a series of town hall meetings on this issue. If you were unable to attend these meetings, you are invited to email me at lwagner@monroviaschools.net or attend the May 9 board meeting to express your questions or thoughts on this issue.

--Linda Wagner

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