Tacoma joins Edmonds in announcing layoffs for dozens of school staff – MyNorthwest.com

Tacoma joins Edmonds in announcing layoffs for dozens of school staff - MyNorthwest.com
Hundreds protest budget cuts, planned teacher layoffs at Jersey City schools
Tacoma’s public school district joined Edmonds Wednesday, in announcing layoffs for dozens of staff, teachers, and administrators this week.

The News Tribune reports a 31-staff member layoff for Tacoma Public Schools. The district will let go of 31 total people, including nine administrative staff, nine certificated staff, and 13 classified staff. One teacher was included under the “certificated staff” category.

Similarly, dozens of teachers in Edmonds got layoff letters on Wednesday, after the school board voted 3-2 to approve a motion to let go of 25 teachers, 8 assistant elementary school principals, and two instructional technology coaches.

“Its shocking, I think it’s a huge disservice to the children, and the teachers, and the community. I think it’s really unfortunate, an Edmonds parent told KIRO 7 TV.

Both Edmonds and Tacoma recently faced budget shortfalls of $17.7 million and $30 million respectively. In Edmonds, school district officials point to funding changes from the 2018 McCleary decision as the main culprit.

Tacoma schools eliminated 43 administrative positions earlier in 2019 to allow for increases in teacher salaries. Not long after that, the district passed a “reduction in force” resolution.

“We expect to face another round of budget reductions in the 2020-2021 school year,” a news release from the Tacoma Public Schools District said.

JERSEY CITY — More than 300 parents, teachers and students crowded inside School 26 on Monday night to demand Jersey City school board members find a way to avoid massive cuts to school staffing and educational programs.

The board was meeting to adopt its $638 million budget for 2019-20 at a time when the 30,000-student district faced a budget gap that exceeds $100 million and a cut in state school aid that totals roughly $30 million. The district in recent weeks sent out hundreds of layoff warnings to teachers and staff — during Teacher Appreciation Week — panicking district employees and parents.

As of 8 p.m. the board had yet to hold a vote on the budget because of hours of comment from members of the public, many of them with their children in tow. They told board members they should impose a higher tax hike, lobby City Council members to use some of the citys budget to fund schools and cut wasteful spending.

Our schools are crying out for leadership and it is time for you to step up, Jyl Josephson said.

This is the most dramatic Jersey City budget crisis in years. Gleaming Downtown skyscrapers have attracted thousands more affluent residents to the city in the last decade, but 70 percent of students citywide still qualify for free or reduced lunch.

School officials like Jersey City Board of Education President Sudhan Thomas blame the state for the districts financial woes. New Jersey last year revised its school funding formula, leading to the elimination, over the next six years, of a form of state aid that would have brought the district about $200 million this year. The school board has sued the state seeking reinstatement of that aid plus hundreds of millions of additional dollars.

Lawmakers elsewhere in the state scoff, saying the city should be kicking in more to fund their schools, not state taxpayers. The current years school budget included $414 million from state aid and $124 million from city residents.

Parents and teachers who spoke to the board on Monday warned of talented teachers fleeing to other school districts and remaining teachers saddled with overcrowded classrooms.

What do I tell my students next year, second graders in a class of 36? teacher Diane Mackay said.

Ron Greco, president of local teachers union the Jersey City Education Association, put the blame on School Superintendent Marcia V. Lyles and the longtime state monitor, Cathy Coyle, saying they mismanaged the district for years and left it with a massive budget problem. The board suspended Lyles in January and put her on paid leave until her contract expires in June 2020, citing various employment issues.

The state last year allowed the city to collect a payroll tax, and the revenue is earmarked entirely for schools.

Terrence T. McDonald may be reached at tmcdonald@jjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @terrencemcd. Find The Jersey Journal on Facebook.


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