243 Long Beach school employees sent pink slips

The Long Beach Board of Education voted to send pink slips to 243 employees, mostly teachers, notifying them of layoffs at the end of this school year, it was reported today.

The unanimous vote, protested by about 150 teachers at the meeting or demonstrating outside, is aimed at saving about $90 million over the next two fiscal years, the Long Beach Press-Telegram reported. Ninety of the workers are on year-to-year contracts, and the rest are permanent or probationary employees.

The district anticipates issuing another round of pink slips next month, the Press-Telegram reported.

The school board vote is the first step in a lengthy layoff process dictated by state law. Teachers with the most seniority who are targeted for layoffs have a right to move into jobs below them, and it was unclear how many teachers would eventually lose their jobs.

A union official complained that district officials failed to keep accurate records regarding seniority.

In March, the district warned that about 1,000 employees could be laid off at the end of this school year. The number of warning notices was later reduced to 849, though not all of those employees will get pink slips.

The teachers affected by Tuesday's vote are those who did not ask to be part of a legal challenge to the layoffs, which is being handled by an administrative law judge who is expected to make a ruling next month.