One of Burbank’s Teachers of the Year Gets Pink Slip


LOS ANGELES -- Debbie Winsteen was one of 11 elementary teachers from Burbank Unified School District who received the honor for the 2008-2009 school year. (A previous report incorrectly identified her as a California Teacher of the Year honoree.)

This year, the Burbank Elementary School teacher received a layoff notice, according to KFWB Radio. She has taught in the district for five years."My immediate anger, right now, is with our state legislators and the governor, and my board of education," Winsteen told KFWB. "Our fate, and the fate of our kids, is in their hands.

The third-grade teacher received the notice on the same day educators wore pink clothing and rallied outside of schools as part of a statewide protest against the wave of "pink slip" layoff notices sent to teachers as a result of the state budget crisis. Several rallies are scheduled for "Pink Friday."

School districts have handed out more than 25,000 pink slips statewide in the face of about $11 billion in state cuts to education funding, according to the California Teachers Association.

The notices are "precautionary." Under the State Education Code, schools must notify employees who might be laid off by March 15, but that does not necessarily mean all of them will lose their jobs.

The state Legislature approved deep budget cuts -- including to education -- and raised taxes last month to cope with a budget gap of nearly $42 billion over the next 18 months.

With budget shortfalls reaching $718 million for the 2009-10 school year, the Los Angeles Unified School District announced possible layoffs for 8,846 teachers and administrative staff.

"I wish I did not have to send out precautionary notices to employees and I do not take it lightly, but it is necessary given the uncertainties that we are facing," LAUSD Ramon Cortines said.

In April, similar notices will be given out to non-instructional personnel at LAUSD, according to a district spokeswoman.

Exactly how many teachers will actually lose their jobs was unknown, according to City News Service.


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