All Providence teachers receive dismissal notices

providence_teacher_layoffs.gi.top.jpgProvidence's budget woes forced the city to send dismissal notices to all teachers. (Above, Providence City Hall) By Tami Luhby, senior writer


NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The Providence Public School Department sent dismissal notices Tuesday to every one of its 1,926 teachers, warning them they could lose their jobs at the end of this school year.

Not all teachers in Rhode Island's capital city will be let go. But the warning was necessary because of the dire fiscal straits that both Providence and its school system are in.

The school district is facing a nearly $40 million shortfall for the coming academic year.

The city's financial condition is even worse. Providence, which faced a $57 million deficit a year ago, is preparing a budget that will contain major cuts to education, officials said. The city, which has been hit hard by the Great Recession, spends half its budget on schools.

Rhode Island law requires that teachers be notified about potential changes to their employment status by March 1. But because the extent of the funding cuts are still unknown, the school system sent warnings to every teacher to give itself "the maximum flexibility to consider every cost-saving option," Superintendent Tom Brady wrote in a letter to educators.

Mayor Angel Taveras, a product of Providence public schools who promised to improve them in his inaugural address last month, plans to submit his budget at the beginning of April. The new mayor should have a better handle on the city's fiscal condition once a task force he appointed to review Providence's finances issues its report within the next two weeks.

"We know there will be fewer teachers and fewer schools open," said Melissa Withers, Taveras' spokeswoman.

In the past, the school district has issued layoff notices to some teachers, but never dismissal notices and never to the entire staff. School officials opted to dismiss teachers this year so the district would not be bound by state law that requires recalls be based on seniority.

"It gives us more flexibility to recall teachers based on student need," said Christina O'Reilly, a spokeswoman for the district.

The teachers' union said it was "appalled" at the city's decision to "terminate all Providence public school teachers." The union will explore every option to make sure educators' rights are protected.

"This unprecedented action sacrifices the best interest of Providence students and teachers in the name of flexibility," said Steve Smith, president of the Providence Teachers Union. "This is a slap in the face to teachers who have supported the district in nationally recognized labor-management collaboration initiatives which have occurred in our city over the past two years."

The city and the union will soon start negotiations on the teachers' contracts, which expire June 30. City and school district officials stressed that Tuesday's move was not related to the contract expiring. To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 16,793.08 -87.28 -0.52%
Nasdaq 4,421.06 -41.84 -0.94%
S&P 500 1,958.45 -11.62 -0.59%
Treasuries 2.59 0.04 1.45%
Data as of 9:31am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Twenty-First Century... 32.00 -0.15 -0.47%
Frontier Communicati... 6.65 -0.14 -2.06%
Xerox Corp 13.34 0.36 2.77%
Comcast Corp 55.41 0.42 0.76%
Oracle Corp 40.96 0.33 0.81%
Data as of Jul 30

Sections

Brian Cornell, who once headed Sam's Club, will take on challenge of helping recovery from data breach. More

At an age when they should be thinking about retirement, these workers are working harder and in more jobs than ever. More

After serving 8 years in prison, Marcus Bullock is helping the incarcerated stay connected with loved ones with his Flikshop app. More

Restrictive immigration policies prevent talented entrepreneurs from launching businesses in the U.S. So, they're moving to Canada. More

The Mason family, which has been struggling to pay the $100,000 student loan bill they were left with when their daughter passed away five years ago, is now seeing an outpouring of support. More

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.