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JC District Reverses Itself, Rehires Laid-Off Instructors

September 11, 1986|DAVID MORGAN | Times Staff Writer

Physical education instructors laid off in June by the Los Angeles Community College District were rehired in time for for the opening of classes Tuesday, according to Virginia Mulrooney, vice chancellor of personnel services for the district.

Five PE teachers, and 33 instructors in other departments, got their jobs back because the district discovered it could not meet its classroom needs without them, Mulrooney said.

The employees were laid off June 30 as part of what the then-board President Monroe Richman called "an overdue change in educational direction." The move was designed to redistribute teachers to growing departments such as English as a second language, business and mathematics--and away from overmanned areas that included physical education.

"I think we have made the turnaround the district hoped for when the terminations were originally announced in February," Mulrooney said. "More than 100 instructors were removed in one way or another from areas that were overstaffed and placed in areas that were understaffed."

She added: "It's not a total match yet. There is still a lot of stuff we must get through. But I think the problem is very small compared to the grave problem we had last year."

Mulrooney said the rehiring in physical education resulted from negotiations with the faculty union that originally were designed to lure full-time teachers into coaching. Last year, about a third of all intercollegiate athletic teams were headed by part-time coaches.

Under an agreement reached in June, the mid-season teaching assignments of instructors who coached teams was reduced. In addition, they received time off during the off-season for recruiting and conditioning.

Mulrooney said the district did not correctly anticipate its teaching needs under the new agreement.

"We had not anticipated the release time in the off-season for coaches," Mulrooney said. Release time is the district's term for a reduced teaching load. "That made them unavailable for some classes, and we had to fill those positions."

The miscalculation created openings for six physical education instructors who were layoff victims in June. Five accepted positions Friday as long-term substitute teachers. Three of the five coached teams during the 1985-86 season. The sixth instructor, Diane Befranco-Browne, formerly of Trade-Tech, had earlier accepted a teaching position at Long Beach City College and will not return to the Los Angeles district.

In addition, 33 of 35 teachers in other departments were rehired, Mulrooney said.

The rescinding of layoffs had far-reaching effects. Teachers from outside physical education, for instance, may now coach athletic teams. Terms of the faculty contract relating to layoffs had barred them from coaching.

Consequently, Chuck Ferrero will now be able to officially enter his seventh season as football coach at Valley College.

Ferrero was one of 39 physical education instructors to receive a layoff notice in February. He avoided the layoff by transfering to Valley's science department.

By leaving physical education, however, Ferrero had to forfeit his coaching job--on paper, at least. In reality, he never missed a day in preparing his Valley team for its season-opening game Saturday night at Ventura.

"I was going to be the coach all along," Ferrero said. "The bottom line is that it would have been impossible to hang through this had it not been for the strong support of the administration here at Valley, and I mean it. That is no baloney."

Valley Athletic Director George Goff said that the rehiring doesn't end the turmoil caused by the layoffs.

"It didn't do much for the morale of teachers and coaches, that's for sure," Goff said. "With all the turmoil, I think it will be hard to get good coaches in the future."

Courtney Borio, athletic director at Trade-Tech and a key figure in the ongoing negotiations with the district, was only slightly relieved Tuesday.

"It's the end of a long, tragic process," Borio said.

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