According to a report in the Providence Journal, the local school district is considering sending every teacher in the district notice that their employment may be terminated at the end of the current school year – all 1,926 teachers. There are a couple of factors at play, namely state law and the current budget situation the Providence, Rhode Island school district faces – from the Providence Journal:
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.
“To be clear about what this means,” Brady wrote, “this action gives the School Board the right to dismiss teachers as necessary, but not all teachers will actually be dismissed at the end of the school year.”[emphasis added]
Source: Providence Journal
As can be expected, the local union leadership, taking in to account the budget issues and current state laws, understands the need for the school district to issue the letters to all teachers:
“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.”
Source: Providence Journal
Seriously? The teachers are getting letters alerting them to the possibility of their job being eliminated – at this point it is impossible to know what cuts in personnel will be needed to address the projected $40 million budget shortfall the district faces, so rather than limit their options they are “putting everyone on notice” to have maximum flexibility.
Could the district have decided to send the possible termination letters to just a portion of the teachers in the district? Absolutely, but that would have limited the district’s options and with the unpredictable nature of so-called RIF (Reduction In Force) policies there is no way to know with any certainty which teachers will be let go.
I don’t have the resources to investigate this, but I honestly suspect that the requirement (as codified in Rhode Island state law) to alert teachers by March 1st if their positions are terminated was supported, if not demanded, by the Rhode Island Teacher (and other) Unions…
Providence Journal: Providence plans to pink slip all teachers