You Decide: Should the School Committee Issue Layoff Notices

The committee is poised to issue 700 layoff notices as the education department faces budget shortfalls.

The Woonsocket School Committee is scheduled to hold a special meeting today at 5:30 p.m. to address one issue: a proposal to issue more than 700 layoff notices to school employees, including teachers, teacher's aides and custodians.

The School Committee insists it is only taking the necessary steps to prevent a repeat of last year's $2.7 million budget deficit. The Woonsocket Teachers Guild sees a darker intent, calling “the plan to terminate all teachers and paraprofessionals" an "extreme, arbitrary and irresponsible step that will only foster lower morale, distrust and uncertainty,” according to union head Jeffrey Partington.

However, there is no plan to lay off anyone at this afternoon's meeting. Today's action — whatever the vote — will not result in any terminations. It is a necessary step to satisfy state law in case budget deficits force the Woonsocket Education Department to issue any layoffs in the near future. State law requires the school department to notify by March 1 any union employees who may lose their jobs in the coming year.

So what do you think? Should the School Committee issue more than 700 layoff notices to school employees?

Another Concerned Taxpayer February 26, 2012 at 01:30 PM
Apparently you don't understand this topic. If there had been more responsible spending, and accountability for said spending, this would not need to happen. And as for teacher evaluations? A brief glance at teacher contracts would show these layoffs should have been issued based on seniority. However THEY decided to issue notices to all because THEY don't know how much THEY spent or how much THEY are going to spend. I say to the teachers, keep up your outstanding teaching, and keep fighting for your careers and what's owed to you.
liz February 26, 2012 at 03:15 PM
I think Sandy S. nailed it on the head! OUR poor teachers keep taking the hit for the mistakes that others made. How does this affect them emotionally? Now we expect them to go back into the classroom with this looming over their heads, put on a happy face and work hard? Now will really suffer here? My guess, the kids.
David T February 26, 2012 at 04:16 PM
Necessary Moves: The School Committee and Vanna Donayan, PhD made the decision to send out notices to union positions in the name of “flexibility” and keeping all options open to them for the next budget. I get it; there is a March 1 deadline. It was necessary. Everyone now agrees this was a desperate move for desperate times, whether you like the decision or not. Well, it’s also time to look ALL positions; I’m talking about the entire administration, top-down, the non-union positions. They have the biggest paychecks. How, in these times of financial crisis did the administrators get a pass??? No personal discomfort or yearly lay off notices for them! This group recently asked for a raise! Look it up for your selves in the SC Minutes. And there is nothing to stop the School Committee from laying off or firing anyone in the administration right now or at any time. Why haven’t they done this? There’s a deficit now. Why aren’t we seeing salary reductions for the administration or health benefit reductions??? The sending out of notices to every teacher is drastic. Most if not all will NEED to return in September. But, the point is, the School Committee is quite capable of taking drastic measures as we witnessed last week. Well it’s time to continue taking drastic measures and make cuts everywhere. IT’S NECESSARY!!! They can always hire them back in September.
Upset Citizen February 26, 2012 at 07:48 PM
Am I the only tax payer who is tired of SC members lying to them, and not representing the very people that elected them? Vimala... what experience do you even have in public education? All you have shown that you are good at is lying to people, and bullying hard working teachers.
sam brown February 29, 2012 at 07:52 PM
lay them all off. they don't do their jobs anyway


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