The same faces students see at the front of their classrooms this year will not be around come September.
In recent weeks, the Half Hollow Hills School District handed out 35 pink slips to teachers, most who will be excised due to lower enrollment. That is in addition to the 14 teachers laid off during last year’s budget season. While they may teach different fields, many of those being cut have one thing in common: they’re new.
During the latest budget forum on Jan. 24, a parent questioned why the school board is targeting cuts at the newest teachers in the district. Superintendent Kelly Fallon answered simply, “Because that is the law.”
The superintendent's statement is true. While most states do not mandate that seniority be the dominant factor in layoff decisions, 14 of them, including New York, do. The “last in, first out” policies were established with the intention to protect teachers with tenure and ensure job stability. However, there is increasing criticism that layoffs should be based upon how well a teacher does his/her job, not on how long the teacher has been in the school system.
Some teachers who are being laid off in Half Hollow Hills are award-winning educators.
“In a corporate world, layoffs would be based on performance and that’s how it should be,” Tedra Grant, who has three children in the district said to an audience applause at the latest budget forum.
In 2009, Arizona passed a law prohibiting seniority from being used in deciding teacher layoffs. Is this a law New York should take up as well? Tell us in the poll below: