Layoffs March 15th 2011

Pink Slipped March 15, 2011

Information for all OEA Members

Here’s the letter that is going into the packet with all the required forms being sent out to all OEA members receiving the RIF notices.

Everything you wanted to know about Reduction in Forces (RIFS)

CTA Seniority Rights and Bumping Guide.

Important Instructions for Teachers served with RIF (Layoff Notices)

OUSD Information on March 15th layoffs

Layoffs! Know Your Rights!

Protest Layoff Notices to 538 OEA Members!

Rally in Solidarity before the "Know Your Rights" Meeting

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Rally: 4:00 pm

Oakland High School at Park and MacArthur

"Know Your Rights": 4:30-6:30 pm

Oakland High Theater, 1023 MacArthur Blvd.


It has been many years since Oakland Unified School District issued this many notices of possible layoffs, and every school in Oakland has been affected. Whether you received a notice or not, we know you are feeling the anguish that comes with this period of uncertainty, instability, and upheaval. This is a time when we need to come together as one: to protest the layoff notices, to demand that there be no cuts from the classrooms, and to stand in solidarity with our colleagues who have been noticed! If you did not receive a notice, we urge you to come to the rally with your colleagues who did get noticed and then sit with them in solidarity at the meeting.


You will be getting a detailed letter and packets from OEA/CTA and from the district. Here are some of the key points you need to know:


 Plan on attending the RIF "Know Your Rights" meeting on Tuesday, March 15 at 4:30pm at the Oakland High School auditorium so you can get your questions answered, and bring all completed RIF forms sent to you in the CTA RIF packets (make a copy of all the documents for your records). 

   In the CTA RIF packets, complete the Request for Hearing form and make two (2) copies; submit the original to HR and have all 3 forms date/time stamped. Keep one copy for your records and send the other copy to CTA Attention: Kimberly Foster at fax no. (510) 536-3010.

IF YOU CANNOT ATTEND THE MARCH 15 MEETING: Complete the CTA Consent to Legal Representation Form (Fill in OUSD as the school district and Beeson, Tayer & Bodine as the legal representative), the 2011 RIF Data Form, and attach a copy of any documents about your seniority date and credentials that might be in dispute and make a copy of all these documents and send to the CTA office Attention: Kimberly Foster at fax no. (510) 536-3010.

Please remember that because of the sheer number (538+) ofRIF's, you will have to be patient in getting responses to uour questions going forward. The best way to get questions answered is to send them to Gina Parish at and/or to Memo Durgin at

Remember that receipt of the RIF letter from OUSD does not mean you are being laid off, only that you could be laid off by May 15th. By law all school districts must notify certificated employees by March 15 that they could be laid off on May 15. In the meantime we will continue to demand that district find ways to keep cuts AWAY from the classrooms. It us unacceptable to lay off teachers and increase class sizes as long as there is still money being wasted on outside consultants, unmandated testing, and other unnecessary expenses.

For more information, call Gina Parish or Memo Durgin at 510-536-5850.

In unity,

Betty Olson-Jones


Oakland Education Association

538 Teachers ... The List!

(Click on the picture to enlarge and print)

Response to March 15, 2011 Layoffs: Letter to the Community from OEA President Betty Olson-Jones

On Tue, Mar 22, 2011 at 1:13 PM, Betty Olson-Jones <> wrote:
In response to numerous requests from teachers and parents, I wrote this open letter to the community on our response to the layoffs. Please feel free to circulate widely. (I tried to add as an attachment but was told it was too large to send.)

March 22, 2011

Dear Parents, Students, and Members of the Oakland Community,

On March 15, 538 of our teachers, counselors, librarians, and social workers were notified that they may lose their jobs. The list includes 231 Elementary teachers, 11 counselors, 6 psychologists, 8 librarians, 13 social workers, 18 foreign language teachers, 11 drama and music teachers, 10 art teachers, 13 vocational education teachers, 45 middle and high school social studies teachers, 41 middle and high school English teachers, 28 6th grade Core teachers, 46 Adult Education teachers, 4 Alternative Education teachers, and 25 P.E. teachers.

Although these so-called “pink slips” or RIF (Reduction in Force) notices will not be finalized until May 15, the large number of possible layoffs has sent a shock wave of anguish, anger, and determination through the Oakland community. The district tells us that the reason for this unprecedented number is that they have to prepare for the worst possible state budget scenario. Our response is that the first priority of any school district should be to provide safe, stable, and sustainable schools for our children. That is the bottom line. We can’t continue to create excellent learning environments for our children if class sizes continue to increase and teachers are moved around like pawns, or threatened with losing their jobs. Although we don’t discount the seriousness of California’s current budget crisis, we also want to point out that for years, this state has refused to make public education a priority. Since Proposition 13 was passed in 1978, banks, other corporations, and the wealthiest Californians have failed to pay their fair share in taxes. This has caused California schools to go from near the top in the nation to at or near the bottom in per pupil funding, class size ratios, the number of school librarians, counselors, nurses, etc. We say we’ve had enough of this failure to prioritize public education, and that our children deserve to have stable schools without constant turnover and turmoil. We say that our kids are the priority and that the layoffs must be reversed!

We are deeply concerned about the impact on all schools in the district, but especially upon those schools that have a high percentage of new teachers. Few schools have been left untouched, but many have been disproportionately impacted, with all or almost all teachers noticed. Many of these schools are in flatland areas, which historically have higher rates of teacher turnover than the more affluent hill schools. Layoffs devastate any school, but especially those that face losing most or all of their teachers.

For years the OEA has been calling for special attention to schools in the most impoverished areas of Oakland. Our “Create Success” program and our bargaining proposals have consistently advocated for additional supports for students in schools of highest need, such as smaller class sizes and more time for teachers to collaborate and plan. We have supported a mix of new and experienced teachers at all sites to provide mentoring and support. We have spoken out consistently against the tendency of Results Based Budgeting (RBB), OUSD’s site-based budgeting policy, to encourage site administrators to hire new teachers as a priority because they cost less.  In fact, in the 19 schools that receive additional dollars under the state’s highly successful Quality Education and Investment Act (QEIA), an act that was authored by CTA, the law requires a mix of experienced and newer teachers, small class sizes, excellent site leadership, professional development that is designed and led by our teachers, and time for teachers to collaborate with each other to improve teaching and learning.

We are open to creative suggestions that will help minimize the instability caused by massive layoffs, and we will work hard to reverse the layoffs and bring teachers back to their sites. However, we want to caution against potential solutions that pit newer teachers against other newer teachers or against more experienced ones, or one school against another. The diversity in our teaching force is something we honor and respect; we each have a role to play. Though not perfect, seniority is a hard-won right that protects against arbitrary dismissals.  Let’s not take any measures that would pit teachers against their colleagues or parents against teachers.

The OUSD administration and Board members must answer some questions. We urge you to join us in writing to Superintendent Tony Smith and members of the Board of Education asking them for answers!

1.      1)  Why is a single teacher being given a layoff notice when we still have outside consultants working in the district? If this is really “about the kids,” why isn’t the district calling for a moratorium on outside consultants?

2.      2) Why doesn’t the district make retaining teachers its number one priority by shifting funds from programs that may be desirable but are not absolutely necessary in the current economic climate?

3.       3) Why is the district not fulfilling its legal obligation to spend 55% of education expenses on teachers and instructional assistants, while continuing to spend huge sums of money on non-mandated costs such as benchmark testing?

4.       4) Why is the district not aggressively telling the state that we cannot and will not pay the $6 million in annual loan fees, or the $1 million/year in audit findings and penalties, since these expenses were incurred under state takeover and fiscal mismanagement?

In our commitment to kids and public education, we welcome your ideas and suggestions, and we urge you to ACT:

1.      1)  Write to Tony Smith and your School Board member (, Board member’s

2.     2)  Come to OEA’s Town Hall meeting at City Hall on March 26, 9:30am–12:00 pm.

3.      3) Come to the Board of Education meetings to support your children and their teachers. Ask questions. Demand that the layoffs be reversed!

In unity,



Betty Olson-Jones
President, Oakland Education Association
(510) 763-4020
272 E. 12th Street
Oakland, CA 94606


Oakland Education Association


Must Read!  March 15 Call to Action

 by OEA's Secretary and Communication Chair, Steve Neat

The timing was perfect. Just as most of my colleagues and I were working on our own unpaid time (yet again) to get report cards done, the Reduction In Force notices (RIFs) began arriving at the homes of teachers by certified mail over the weekend. 538 OEA Members have been given layoff notices. At some sites every single teacher has received a layoff notice. At my site, Kaiser School, 4 out of 11 teachers has received one. These are indeed desperate times, but this is not a natural disaster, it is man-made. It results partly from poor governance and poor funding decisions at the state level. But it also results from poor decisions at the district level. These decisions can be reversed. The lay-off notices can be rescinded before May 15. We need every teacher, every parent, and every student in OUSD at Oakland High School at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, March 15. Take the day off work if you must, as is your right under state law (see below).OUSD needs to understand that they can't balance cuts on the backs of students and teachers. More importantly, the teachers and Education Support Professionals (ESPs) who have received layoff notices need to know that they have our support.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. It’s time for OUSD to put students first. First of all, no employee in this district should make more than the top teacher salary while 538 teachers and Education Support Professionals (ESPs) receive layoff notices. How can we justify downtown administrators—many of whom never see a child throughout a work day—making six figures while 538 teachers and ESPs get laid off? I’m not saying downtown administrators don’t do anything useful. But is what they do more important than what teachers do? No.

Second of all, no outside contractor not providing essential services (school lunches, etc.) should have their contract continued next school year until every single lay-off notice is rescinded. Is it useful to see our district test data laid out for us on color print-outs thanks to Edusoft? Maybe. Is it more useful than teachers in the classroom? No. Is it useful to have Si Swun Math available as a supplementary program at many sites on top of the regular state math curriculum? Maybe. Is it more useful than teachers in the classroom? No.

Some District officials, some in the media, and some principals may try and distract us by bringing up seniority, small schools, and a yet-to-be-approved 2% raise like a magician throwing smoke bombs on the stage. Or perhaps they will put their arm around us, nodding somberly, and shedding crocodile tears while they cry poverty. We cannot fall for the okeydoke. We must remain focused on the fact that if OUSD was serious about continuing to boost student achievement and putting students first, they would enact measures like those outlined above to keep teachers in classrooms and keep class sizes down.

Martin Luther King, Jr. once said that, “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” Friends, families, colleagues, students, Oakland, do not be silent. Stand with us. We need YOU there on Tuesday at 4 p.m. at Oakland High. And it cannot stop there. The OEA is strike-legal. At the next Rep Council meeting we will be voting on whether or not to strike. Parents have power too. I am not advocating anything. But when we’re talking about laying off 538 teachers and ESPs and cramming even more students into every already overcrowded classroom, while at the same time millions of dollars continue to go to outside contractors and six-figure administrator salaries, there is NO ACTION that should be off the table.

Superintendent's Office
1025 2nd Avenue, Room 301
Oakland, CA 94606
Phone (510) 879-8200
Fax (510) 879-8800


Governing Board 
Oakland Unified School District
1025 2nd Avenue, Suite 320
Oakland, CA 94606-2212
Office E-mail:
Office Main Number 510 879-8199
Office Fax Number 510 879-8000

Directors - E-mail
Vice President Jody London - District 1 -
David Kakishiba - District 2 -
Jumoke Hinton Hodge - District 3 -

President Gary Yee - District 4

Noel Gallo - District 5 -

Christopher Dobbins - District 6

Alice Spearman - District 7


State Law on Missing Work for School Activities: The Family-School Partnership Act is a California law that allows parents, grandparents, and guardians to take time off from work to participate in their children's school or child care activities. The law (Labor Code Section 230.8) first took effect in 1995. Its provisions were expanded in 1997 to add licensed child day care facilities to the kindergarten-through-grade-twelve levels included in the original legislation.