thumb_school_bus(1).jpgAs teachers in Oakland prepare to go on strike this week, local educators in San Francisco will rally outside tonight’s Board of Education meeting to urge the school board to resume labor contracts discussions to prevent a similar stalemate over the district’s looming $113 million deficit.

More than 600 teachers, nurses and counselors could be handed pink slips and almost 200 other staff members could also lose their jobs when the school district finalizes its decision, according to the school district.

State law requires the school district issue final notice of teacher layoffs by May 15th, which is why the group, including parents and students, is rallying tonight to demand a speedy resumption of negotiations.

On April 19, the San Francisco Unified School District formally entered into an impasse with the United Educators of San Francisco teachers union, meaning that a mediator will intervene in resolving the contacts, a process that could take weeks or months.

If the district later decides to rehire certain teachers who are laid off, there is no guarantee they would be placed in the same schools. That means hundreds of teachers could be shuffled and put down in another site, according to the union.

Labor negotiations began more than two months ago, when the school board requested $44 million in concessions over the next two years to help bridge the anticipated $113 million deficit.

School district spokeswoman Gentle Blythe said that the union refuses to consent to temporary economic concessions – including furlough days and the suspension of paid sabbaticals and some salary increases.

Instead, Blythe said, the union is holding out for non-monetary items that have resulted in the impasse.

The union has since proposed a concession package worth $27 million, including reducing the length of the school year by four days to save $14 million and parcel tax money making up the difference.

A representative with the union said that schools in the city’s south and east neighborhoods would be disproportionately affected by the potential layoffs, which were determined based on seniority.

Almost 200 other staff, including classroom aides, who often speak the languages, understand the cultures and reflect the school communities, are also at risk of losing their jobs, but do not have the same protections as the teachers.

The school board can give notice of layoffs of these paraprofessionals as late as the last day of the school year.

The board meets at 5:30 p.m. at the school district’s central offices at 555 Franklin Street.

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