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?