Staff Work to Save Beloved Band Director’s Job

More than 100 pink-slipped teachers will have to wait another week to find out their fate as district officials work to find a legal way to keep beloved Santa Barbara High School Band Director Charlie Ortega in his current position. Having successfully negotiated deals with its teaching and classified employee unions earlier this month, the School Board approved a budget at its meeting—a milestone that was meant to allow them to recall many of the pink slips they issued back in March. However, after public outcry over a proposed involuntary transfer that would result in the nontenured Ortega being replaced by a more senior teacher from a different school, the School Board elected to have staff find a way to save Ortega’s job. As a result, according to district finance guru Eric Smith, the pink slips are still standing for the impacted teachers and will do so until a resolution is found. Smith also added that “a majority” of the pink-slipped classified employees have already been called back and rehired.

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