Over 100 Central Falls Teachers Face Layoffs
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Only 11 of the 106 teachers receiving notice are doing so for performance reasons, while the rest are a result of an expected $2.6 million in budget cuts to the school district for the upcoming year. Though budget planning is still ongoing, teachers statewide have received similar warnings -- in Providence, every single public school teacher in the district received notice.
"This time of year is most unpleasant for everyone involved in schools," said Centrals Falls Superintendent Fran Gallo. "A March 1 notification deadline for prospective teaching positions in September is disruptive and demoralizing, but it is a statute that governs our operations."
Thirty-nine of the Central Falls layoff notices were sent to teachers at the high school -- where huge reforms are underway -- though Gallo would not say how many of these were performance-related.
Central Falls HIgh School -- one of the worst-performing high schools in the state -- has garnered significant media attention since school officials threatened to fire every single teacher after the teacher's union refused to comply with Gallo's proposed reform plan. The conditions of the plan included adding 25 minutes to the school day, private tutoring on a rotating schedule before and after school, attending weekly after-school planning sessions, and participating in two weeks of training during the summer. The plan also called for more rigorous teacher evaluations but not much extra pay.
Though it is likely that many receiving notice will be rehired once the budget for the upcoming year is finalized, layoffs are necessary to ensure maximum flexibility when assessing budget cuts. According to school district spokeswoman Yaviri Grosso Escalera, the district is "doing our best to make sure that by June everyone will know their status."
"Every teacher notified must demonstrate the fortitude and moral courage it takes to teach each and every day to the best of their ability, now and through the upcoming months," added Gallo. "We will all be seeking to recall teachers to positions as both enrollment and funding figures fall into place."
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