Shakeup Expected in School District’s IT Department

The Santa Barbara Chapter of California School Employees Association (CSEA) rejected the Santa Barbara Unified School District’s proposal to reorganize its IT Department, forcing the CSEA bargaining unit and the district to go back to the negotiating table.

According to representatives in CSEA, the district’s proposal states four classified employees in its IT Department would be laid off and reclassified into new positions after taking a skills test. Per negotiations between the two sides, the new positions would be offered internally before they are opened to the public.

At a CSEA monthly meeting last week to vote on the district’s proposal, several attendees stood up to voice opposition to the reorganization. CSEA members said they were particularly angered by an excerpt in the memo that states layoffs are “unavoidable due to lack of work.”

“I have no idea why I’m being laid off except to save money,” one member said at the meeting. “It won’t stop at IT,” another member stood up and said. “It’ll go through the whole organization — all of the job descriptions are much lower.”

Brian Tanguay, Human Resources Coordinator for the district, said about the reorganization: “The structure [of ITS] hasn’t been well-defined for a number of years. We’re trying to get it in a framework that’s going to have in relation to Common Core.” Tanguay added, “The role of the whole department has evolved from technical support to [a way to] improve student outcome.”

Dr. Margaret Christensen, assistant superintendent of Human Resources, added during a conference call that several other districts in the state are adopting similar new structures as well.

“We’ll go through our process,” CSEA Local Chapter President Paul Rooney said. “That’s the democratic message and we’re totally supportive of that. The union wants to take care of our people, and we want to compromise with the district as much as possible.”

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