Yesterday, the Cleveland school board approved layoffs for about 10 percent of its 8,000 employees. The layoffs include 545 teachers, 100 or so principals and assistant principals, and 117 support staff effective in June. The seniority-based layoffs will hit new teaching hires the hardest, especially those hired for innovation schools with specialty programs such as single-gender schools and the technology, math schools. Innovation schools have proven success records in the district.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that Ann Mullin, who oversees educational programs for the Gund Foundation, said,
My reaction is that of absolute dismay at both the layoff news generally, but in particular at the devastation that will cause at schools that are working…
Mullin advised residents to call legislators and complain about a state law that requires the newest teachers to be laid off first.
According to the Plain Dealer,
The job loss district-wide could grow if the ax sweeps through smaller unions and the central office. The job cuts, along with 16 building closings, will help avoid a $53 million deficit predicted for next school year.
In Detroit, over 2,000 teachers received layoff notices yesterday. Robert C. Bobb, a state-appointed emergency financial manager for the Detroit school district is also slated to close more than 40 schools in the city before the end of the school term. However, that plan was thwarted when the school board sued Bobb, stating he had no right to do so without consulting them, and on Friday a judge issued a temporary suspension of the school closings. Michigan’s attorney general plans to appeal.
The Wall Street Journal reported,
Detroit’s beleaguered schools, more than 160,000 students just 10 years ago, have lost roughly half that number to charters and suburban districts that outperform it. By virtually every measure its students fare worse than their counterparts across the country.
California governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger said he supported a proposed state law that would prevent teacher layoffs based on seniority. The Associated Press stated,
“Several teachers of the year have gotten pink slips. How can that happen if they are award-winning teachers?” the governor told an auditorium full of cheering children. “It is very important we change the system.”
Teachers’ unions are not pleased with Schwarzenegger’s plan but civil rights leaders are grateful, noting that most inner-city schools are staffed with new hires.