The school district plans to send out dismissal notices to every one of its 1,926 teachers, an unprecedented move that has union leaders up in arms.
In a letter sent to all teachers Tuesday, Supt. Tom Brady wrote that the Providence School Board on Thursday will vote on a resolution to dismiss every teacher, effective the last day of school.
In an e-mail sent to all teachers and School Department staff, Brady said, “We are forced to take this precautionary action by the March 1 deadline given the dire budget outline for the 2011-2012 school year in which we are projecting a near $40 million deficit for the district,” Brady wrote. “Since the full extent of the potential cuts to the school budget have yet to be determined, issuing a dismissal letter to all teachers was necessary to give the mayor, the School Board and the district maximum flexibility to consider every cost savings option, including reductions in staff.” State law requires that teachers be notified about potential changes to their employment status by March 1.
They explain they aren't dismissing all of them but want the flexibility to let go who they want to exit.
“This is beyond insane,” Providence Teachers Union President Steve Smith said Tuesday night. “Let’s create the most chaos and the highest level of anxiety in a district where teachers are already under unbelievable stress. Now I know how the United States State Department felt on Dec. 7 , 1941.” That was the day the Japanese government bombed Pearl Harbor.
The union also believe the Mayor of Providence, Angel Taveras, is behind the idea. The Mayor says it provides "maximum flexibility" and, from the story in the LA Times:
Taveras said in a statement that although he was sensitive to the uncertainty and anxiety that many teachers felt when they received the layoff notices, "putting Providence back on solid financial footing will require shared sacrifice across our community."
Okay, Mr. Mayor, what are you sacrificing? What is the district's administration sacrificing?
Why is it all about teachers?