OAKLAND -- The anxiety, stress and sleepless nights that hundreds of pink-slipped Oakland teachers may have experienced in recent weeks were -- in many cases -- all for naught.
Most of them are likely to keep their jobs, after all.
This week, while schools were closed for spring break, district officials released plans to spare about 82 percent of the full-time positions that had been slated for possible elimination. The number of K-12 jobs to be slashed strictly for budget reasons has dwindled to 35. (A dozen teachers without the proper authorization to teach English learners are also expected to be laid off.)
"I'm just really happy for the people who have been sweating it out the last couple of weeks," said Betty Olson-Jones, president of the Oakland teachers union.
Oakland's adult education programs were given no such relief. Of the 95 full-time positions that remain on the Oakland school district's layoff list, half are in adult education. State lawmakers recently began to allow school districts to use adult education funds for K-12 programs -- at least, temporarily. As a result, programs for immigrants, school dropouts, seniors and the disabled have been all but wiped out in many districts.
"The decimation of adult education is just really hard to accept," Olson-Jones said.
It was unclear as of Wednesday how many employees would be affected by the layoff news, as some of the positions in question are held by more
Art, English and physical education are among the areas likely to be completely spared from layoffs, a determination largely based on early retirements and budget reductions made at individual schools.
One full-time music teaching position would be eliminated through layoffs, according to the plan. Earlier this month, eight positions were on the list. For Randy Porter, the music director at Westlake Middle School, that means the district's thriving music programs will survive -- for at least another year.
"It's a relief, but it's a call to action at the same time," Porter said. "It's a shame that we have to go through this process. It's systemic of a much bigger problem, which is adequate funding for public education."