ANTIOCH -- The Antioch school district will send out preliminary layoff notices to teachers by next week.
Antioch Unified, East Contra Costa's largest school district, is the only one in the area issuing layoff notices. As of Wednesday morning, Oakley, Brentwood, Knightsen, Pittsburg, Byron, and Liberty school districts did not plan on sending any out.
Antioch Unified trustees last week approved issuing pink slips for 14.4 full-time equivalent positions by March 15. Included is one of four teachers in the district's home-school program, which angered program parents who lobbied the board to reconsider last week.
Antioch continues to project flat or declining enrollment for the next school year, said Keith Rogenski, assistant superintendent of human resources. Other reasons for the layoff notices include planned curriculum and elective changes at the high school level, low demand for certain electives and Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed changes to adult education, he said.
Board president Joy Motts reiterated that the move is simply precautionary, as the district is still waiting for updated versions of Brown's budget.
Frustrated at the prospect of losing a teacher, parents and students from the Educating and Nurturing with Options, Resources and Education, or ENCORE, program packed the Feb. 27 meeting, asking the board to change its decision.
ENCORE has 104 K-8 students, and a waiting list of a dozen more, as families come from Byron, Oakley, Brentwood, Pittsburg and Clayton for lessons.
"Other districts don't have a program like this," parent Kristie Hodges said. "Instead of crippling this program, you should be trying to promote it."
Fellow parent Melody Graves fought back tears as she showed trustees a photo collage of kids enjoying the hands-on activities they have participated in with peers and the teachers.
"They've built relationships with these teachers. (The teachers are) already overworked and yet providing a high level of educational activities. Don't take that away," Graves said.
A handful of ENCORE children held white sheets of paper with a drawing of a chair that read "A chair without a leg is not a chair at all."
The ENCORE teacher layoff is being considered to create equity among the 19,000- student district, namely its ratio of teachers to students, Motts said. Increasing the program's enrollment and keeping the teaching position intact is among the options being looked at, she said.
Other teaching positions possibly being cut include three spots in adult education, two in high school social science, and one apiece in high school Italian, Japanese, Medical Terminology, Spanish, Culinary Arts and Health Science.
Though the Antioch board approved the layoffs, they told parents that none of the cuts was definite. Final layoff notices must be issued in May, though they could be rescinded before that.
"This is all preliminary. As often happens in (the district), there will be retirements and other things that happen. Hopefully, the layoffs aren't permanent," Motts said.
Staff writers Rowena Coetsee, Eve Mitchell and Paula King contributed to this story. Contact Paul Burgarino at 925-779-7164. Follow him at Twitter.com/paulburgarino.