California school districts will send out as many as 26,000 pink slips today, reports the San Francisco Chronicle, prompting Pink-Slip Friday rallies and teacher protests across the state.
Each year, districts disperse slips by the March 15 deadline to inform staff members that they may be laid off, only to recall many of the notices once the state budget has been finalized. In 2003, 17,000 of the 20,000 pink slips were rescinded. With at least $8.4 billion in education budget cuts looming, anxieties are heightened this year. "We've never been cut by this much before," said David Sanchez, president of the California Teachers Association, which is asking people to start rallying across the state at the close of school today.
Steve Betando, an assistant superintendent in Fremont, said, "I think we'll be able to hire some back, but not as many as in years past. Nowhere close." His district is also encouraging all employees to wear pink and participate in the protests.
Some teachers are finding creative ways to support the cause, including high school drama teacher Matt Ballin, who plans to sing a song and wear a pink feather hat today. "I haven't gotten a pink slip," said Ballin, "but I know plenty of people who have, including my sister-in-law. The impact is incalculable."