Is it education reform or is it just a slash and burn policy aimed at cutting teacher pay and union representation?
The school board in Providence, Rhode Island voted 4-3 last week that to reduce a budget shortfall, all 1,926 teachers would be fired ... and then re-hired later this year. Or at least, some would be re-hired. However, termination instead of layoffs means an end to seniority and an end to benefits. In essence, rehires would all be starting at the base rate of pay.
"Given where we are in the budget process, we needed to retain the maximum flexibility we could to manage what inevitably will be significant cuts to the school budget,’’ said Melissa Withers, a spokeswoman for Mayor Angel Taveras. ‘We could not afford any situation where we would have more teachers on the payroll than we could pay.’’
"When you terminate someone, your financial obligations to them end. With a layoff, depending on the kind of layoff, there are all kinds of provisions that you still may have financial obligations to that teacher.’’