MALIBU—The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District intends to lay off up to 46 educators due to declining student enrollment and a potential $10 million  deficit as first reported by The Malibu Times on Thursday, March 26.

Approximately 56 pink slips were handed to employees earlier this month and about 9 of those 56 were given to Malibu teachers. The pink slip notifies an employee of a potential termination. Earlier this year, teachers expressed their concerns that newer teachers would be retained over senior educators if they are more credentialed and qualified. Others took issue with the lack of cuts made to SMMUSD’s Personalize Project-Based Learning Pathway.

Under California law, school districts must layoff educators based on seniority. The education code does make exceptions if there is a compelling need to retain employees. Back in in February, the SMMUSD outlined exceptions to the layoffs which would include teachers with experience in the district’s relatively new Personalized Project-Based Learning Pathway and athletic directors who have at least three years of actual experience as directors within the last five years.

Despite the outlined exceptions, there are reports of athletic directors who have seniority over newly hired staff members that have been issued pink slips. According to state law, the district must notify an employee who might be laid off by March 15.

The layoffs are part of the district’s Stabilization Plan which includes reducing overtime, restructuring certain services, layoffs, restricting district vehicle usage, and thwarting a technology update. SMMUSD Superintendent Ben Drati stated that the district will not increase class sizes due to the cuts.

Canyon News reached out to the district’s spokesperson for more information, but did not hear back before print.