Teacher layoffs painful but not tragedy - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

Teacher layoffs painful but not tragedy

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Wednesday, April 8, 2009 2:23 pm | Updated: 1:44 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

Our View: The numbers are startling in their scope and swiftness. Up to 330 first-year employees and 300 others with the Mesa Unified School District could lose their jobs in two months. Gilbert might not rehire 200 first-year teachers. Scottsdale could lay off 230 people. Queen Creek could lose 25.

The numbers are startling in their scope and swiftness.

Up to 330 first-year employees and 300 others with the Mesa Unified School District could lose their jobs in two months. Gilbert might not rehire 200 first-year teachers. Scottsdale could lay off 230 people. Queen Creek could lose 25.

Certainly, if carried out, these layoffs will cause temporary disruptions at schools and will be economically difficult for the people who lose their positions.

But the outcry against such action has become apocryphal, with some claiming K-12 public education in Arizona could collapse.

The public should keep some other numbers in perspective. The school districts are providing legally required layoff notices because they are anticipating losses in direct state funding of up to 5 percent from their current budgets. That's a 5 percent cut when state lawmakers have to find ways to overcome a projected overall budget deficit of 30 percent or more.

School districts are working under the worst-case scenarios to comply with the law. The Legislature might choose not to cut education that much. And federal stimulus dollars might ease some of the pain - although that's a dangerous slippery slope that smart districts won't bank on for long-term planning.

Some lawmakers are wondering if school districts are intentionally laying off classroom teachers instead of other potential options in order to fuel public anger, which in turn could pressure the Legislature to reconsider education budget cuts and even accept statewide tax increases. However, we would hope that professional administrators and volunteer school boards understand they couldn't precisely guide such political maneuvering and they are just as likely to be targets of public outrage as the Legislature.

School districts need to be as forthcoming as possible about their plans to cut areas not directly connected to classroom education to minimize, as best they can, any loss of teachers.

  • Discuss

EVT Ice Bucket Challenge

The East Valley Tribune accepts the Ice Bucket Challenge.

Facebook

EastValleyTribune.com on Facebook

Twitter

EastValleyTribune.com on Twitter

Google+

EastValleyTribune.com on Google+

RSS

Subscribe to EastValleyTribune.com via RSS

RSS Feeds

Spacer4px
Your Az Jobs