Teachers’ Jobs at Stake

Joshua Fenty, Web Editor-in-Chief

Venice’s E-CAST has shown that enrollment next year will be lower in the comprehensive school, but the magnet schools’ enrollment will remain the same. As a result, some teachers in the comprehensive school may be in danger of being laid off. Principal Doris Lasiter said Venice is expected to lose a total of four teachers. The magnets will keep all of their teachers.

The E-CAST is an enrollment forecast for LAUSD schools. Schools receive a certain amount of funding from the district based upon that predicted number of students and must decide whether they can open more positions, can keep all of their current positions, or if they must close some of their current positions.

According to Principal Lasiter, Venice’s enrollment number at the start of the school year last semester was 2,140 students. As of now, Venice’s enrollment number is 1,997. Venice has lost a total of 143 students since the beginning of last semester. The predicted number for next year is about 2,008 students.

Taking into consideration Venice’s enrollment number at the start of this spring semester, which was 2,016, and the predicted enrollment number for next year, teachers’ union representative Wendy Sarnoff said that the district needs to clarify why the E-CAST is projecting a loss of four teachers when the enrollment numbers for next year and this year are so close.

“The numbers just don’t add up,” said Ms Sarnoff.

When asked about the gap between those numbers and why such a small difference of eight students would result in a loss of four teachers, Principal Lasiter said “ because the loss is in the home school, not the magnet. The home school is losing kids.”

According to Ms. Sarnoff, the decreasing enrollment in public schools is affected by the opening and closing of charter schools in surrounding areas.

Ms. Sarnoff represents Venice in the United Teachers Los Angeles’ (UTLA) House of Representatives that works to make sure that LAUSD schools have state funding and support political figures who will benefit the public school system.

The loss of Venice’s teachers could mean that certain classes and programs currently offered here will be dropped. If by early April, enough students enroll in Venice for next year, those four positions can be saved and perhaps Venice will be able to hire more teachers, according to Principal Lasiter. She also said the E-CAST is predicting that Venice won’t get the extra 100 or-so students needed to keep the positions.

Many long-time Venice teachers are retiring this year and as a result, Venice might not have to let go of any teachers. The school could simply not fill some of the empty positions.