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Why District Layoffs Hit Poor Schools the Hardest

This week San Diego Unified sent out layoff notices to roughly 1,500 employees, and it’s all but certain those layoffs are going to hurt the poorest schools worst.

Neither San Diego Unified nor the San Diego Educators Association, the local teachers union, would send me a list showing which schools have the most teachers facing layoffs. (San Diego Unified’s spokeswoman said they wouldn’t provide it. Teachers union president Lindsay Burningham didn’t respond.)

But one staff member at Millennial Tech Middle school, whose name we’re withholding because she wasn’t authorized to speak on the record, said that 17 out of 21 teachers there received a layoff notice. Most teachers at nearby Knox Middle schools are also facing layoffs, she said.

It’s just one example of an issue that’s played out for years. It goes back to longstanding but controversial state law that requires school districts to first lay off its newest teachers before cutting those with more seniority.