Lead Story West Edition

Inglewood school employees denounce proposed layoffs

INGLEWOOD — Inglewood Unified School District officials and their employees are clashing over what employees feel are plans to lay off non-credentialed employees and cut benefits.

At consecutive school board meetings Dec. 6 and 13, members of the Inglewood Teachers Association and CalPro Local Union came out in force to vocally oppose proposed budget cuts.

For the greater part of the Dec. 6 meeting, members from both unions marched around the district’s office and blew whistles to get the attention of passers-by.

“We’re here because we need to stop this madness,” said Aba Ngissah, president of the Inglewood Teachers Association. “The district continues to require that we take cuts. Right now, they want to cut our benefits. That’s about a seven percent pay cut.

“We are the lowest-paid teachers in Los Angeles County. The district does not respect its teachers. The district does not respect its employees and they don’t hear us. They don’t hear us from professional development. They have cut programs in this district. They have chased charter schools to bring them into this district. If someone was a conspiracist, they would think that the plan was to destroy this district. We can’t let that happen.”

Among the items up for discussion Dec. 13 were revisions to the 2017-18 budget and a recommendation for the minimum wages to be raised to $11 per hour for classified employees. The budget is something that union members feel is going to hit employees hard. That is why they decided to join forces to present a united front against the proposed employee cuts.

According to the school board meeting’s agenda, the rationale for the cuts is financial. The district is looking to eliminate or reduce the hours of classified positions. Savings from the elimination of the positions range from $48,000 to $57,000, depending on the position. At the same time, the board voted to slash administrators’ salaries by seven percent.

Teachers feel they’re going to be next in the line of fire.

“We’ve been bargaining with the district for about 15 months now, and just recently they gave us a proposal that sought to cuts our benefits by 40 percent,” said Andrew Staiano, California Teachers Association field staff for the Inglewood Teachers Association. “The reason being is that they had an old [district business official] who made about $8 million in errors over the past two years, despite the fact that we told the district that this guy was totally unqualified, was incompetent and didn’t know what he was doing.

“Now they’ve got to make up about $8 million, so $2.5 million they want to come directly out of the benefits of [Inglewood Teachers Association] members.”