State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson says the notices reflect the financial emergency facing schools.
Los Angeles Unified, Long Beach Unified, and San Bernardino City Unified are among the districts issuing the most layoff notices. LAUSD sent out 11,700 layoff notices, according to Superintendent John Deasy.
Many of the notices are usually rescinded by June 30 as the revenue estimates become firmer. Last year, LAUSD rescinded 3,400 of the 7,300 notices it sent out.
But this year, districts in their fourth consecutive year of state funding cuts face an even rockier budget scenario.
Unions say the notices are bad for morale, accusing the school districts of using a scare tactic to prod employees into giving concessions such as furloughs and pay cuts. United Teachers Los Angeles and LAUSD are currently in arbitration over furloughs that would save the district $60 million.
Also, billions of dollars in education funding depend on three initiatives proposed for the November ballot. They would raise sales taxes, income taxes or possibly both.
Unfortunately for teachers, California voters have a history of rejecting tax increases. Some districts are considering a parcel tax, which would need the approval of two-thirds of voters. LAUSD's last parcel tax measure in 2010 was defeated.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.