Dozens of teachers likely to get pink slips

Board OKs extension of fundraiser

As many as 40 teachers in the Del Mar Union School District will receive pink slips on March 15, including the Extended Studies Curriculum’s six music teachers, seven art teachers and six physical education teachers.

“It’s with a lot of sadness that we are bringing this to you, but it is necessary,” Superintendent Sharon McClain told the board at its sparsely attended Feb. 17 meeting.

The $846,000 raised by the Del Mar Schools Education Foundation will save 10 full-time equivalent ESC teachers, foundation President Chris Stevenson said.

The board also approved the foundation’s request to extend its fundraising drive until April 20, meaning more pink slips could be rescinded before the final May 15 deadline.

“We will rescind as many as we can as quickly as we can,” McClain said.

In addition to the music, art and PE teachers, the district voted to eliminate 3.2 technology full-time equivalent positions, 2.2 science FTEs, 1.1 drama FTEs, 0.5 Spanish FTE, 22 classroom teachers and the district coordinator of state and federal projects position. One FTE is the equivalent of one full-time position.

Each of the eight school sites’ principals must make decisions on whether they would like to include music, art or PE specialists in their curriculum.

They also may opt to share teachers with other school sites.

However, until they know what they have to work with it’s hard to know how to reconfigure their programs, Carmel Del Mar Principal David Jones said. Personnel technician Darlene Nadlonek compared it to a “big jigsaw puzzle.”

Stevenson received a standing ovation from the board, district staff and audience members when she presented the fundraising check to the district. While the foundation didn’t meet its goal of $2 million by Feb. 15, donations are 85 percent higher than they were last year, Stevenson said.

“It’s really been an amazing accomplishment given the challenges everyone’s had this year,” Stevenson said.

Del Mar Heights parent and foundation member Holly Murphy said she hated to see the pink slips having to go out, even though it’s known that 10 pink slips will be able to immediately be rescinded due to the foundation’s fundraising.

“The foundation raised the money based on avoiding pink slips,” Murphy said. “It’s disappointing that we ended up in a place where pink slips are going out.”

“We understand that the process is painful,” said Trustee Katherine White, adding she wanted to tell all the impacted teachers that the board appreciates everything they do and that they are very sad that they had to make these cuts.