San Diego Unified employees begin receiving pink slips

SAN DIEGO -- The first round of layoff notices have started to arrive at the homes of some San Diego Unified School District staffers.

About 1,000 teachers are expected to be cut as the district tries to balance the $124 million budget gap. The cuts will be costing people jobs and could also take a toll on students' education.

Teacher Craig Volimas said the district is sending a message that his services are no longer needed.

Volimas, a physical education teacher of 18 years, received notice his job may be eliminated as the district struggles to balance its budget.

As a part of cuts, the district said layoff notices are going out to 891 teachers overall and of those, 137 to prep teachers like Volimas.

“I understand the budget issues but doing it on the heels of our students, I think there’s a better way to do that,” Volimas said.

Volimas said prep teachers are specialized educators in various fields including physical education, science, art and computer science.

“Taking away prep at the schools takes away the chance for the teacher to get more time within the school time,” Volimas said.

He said classroom teachers will likely fill that void, taking on extra subjects adding to an already crowded curriculum.

“You’re taking away the specialty of what we teach and basically turning it into mediocracy. I t’s not just going out and rolling a ball and play. It’s a lot more comprehensive,” Volimas said.

“At our school we have a PE Prep Time teacher,” said Marisol Marin, a principal at a San Diego Unified School.

She said nothing is definite; the layoff notices are procedural and in the past they have been rescinded once the state’s budget is set.

“At this time, it looks like that’s what is happening, but like I said, I really don’t know so I always have to have a plan ready to go,” Marin said.

And it’s not just teachers receiving the layoff notices, the district is making cuts across the spectrum from the top levels at the central office, even down to maintenance workers at the bus yard.