Peeved that almost 18,000 California teachers will get pink slips next week because of state budget cuts, the California Teachers Association has launched an ad campaign decrying the layoffs.

Union officials estimated Tuesday that school districts will send out 17,800 preliminary pink slips by March 13 — almost twice last year's estimate of 10,000.

"We are pushing back against this attack on public education because our students will feel these cuts for many, many years," said David Sanchez, CTA president. "The potential layoff of so many educators will hurt our communities and California's future."

The recent state budget deal siphoned about $10 billion from education, meaning less money for school districts. School officials have resorted to drastic measures that include deep staff cuts.

By law, districts must send out preliminary layoff notices this year by March 13 and final notices by May 15. Many East Bay school districts are planning such reductions: The West Contra Costa school district could send out more than 200 pink slips, while the Mt. Diablo district will send out about 100.

The 340,000-member state union has nicknamed March 13 "Pink Friday," and mass demonstrations and protests are planned next week around California. Officials also have purchased radio ads and billboards asking the public to join them in denouncing the layoffs. One radio ad states that "class sizes will increase and fewer kids will get the one-on-one help they need."

One of the billboards is in San Francisco, at Highway 101 and the Bay Bridge.


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Reach Kimberly S. Wetzel at 510-262-2798 or kwetzel@bayareanewsgroup.com.