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Ariz. Bill May Extend Layoff Deadlines (Update)

From Guest Blogger Liana Heitin

In an attempt to prevent dispersing more pink slips than necessary (as is the modus operandi in California, among other states), Arizona legislators are considering a bill that would push back the state deadline for sending layoff notices from April 15 to June 15.

District officials in favor of House Bill 2630, which is expected to pass in the next few days, see it as a necessary move to avoid driving worried educators out of the state. The Arizona Education Association opposes the bill, stating that it would give laid-off teachers little time to find new jobs.

However, the reality is that the budget has not been passed before June 15 in the last three years, so there’s a good chance a two-month delay would not change the numbers. John Wright, the president of the AEA, told the East Valley Tribune that the bill “simply delays tough decisions." In all likelihood, the state budget will not be finalized, and teachers will have remained in contract limbo for longer than necessary.

UPDATE, March 20: The Arizona state legislature rejected the proposal to extend the layoff-notification deadline. Pink slips will be sent out by April 15th, as usual. Representatives of the Arizona Education Association are pleased with the decision, saying teachers need as much notice as possible about potential layoffs. Some dissatisfied Republicans, claiming that education budget cuts will be less than the estimated $900 million, had accused the bill’s opponents of “fear mongering.”

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