Providence schools are in a world of hurt. The district is expected to have a $40 million budget deficit in the coming school year. Since Rhode Island law specifies that teachers must be notified by March 1, regarding changes to their employment status, the district decided the safest route was sending all 1,926 teachers pink slips.
The superintendent said the decision was made to give the district “maximum flexibility” in finding ways to balance the budget and make cuts. On the contrary, the president of the teacher’s union responded to the layoffs by comparing the event to December 7, 1941, when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.
In Ohio, the 613 school districts will face an aggregate budget deficit of $7.6 billion by 2015, with 96 percent of revenues going toward compensation packages. A relatively small cut in compensation for most districts would bring schools back to a financially sound place.
As Ohio braces for an escalation in the school funding crisis in the next few years, it will be interesting to observe how other states like Rhode Island balance their budgets. Will it be tax hikes, compensation package cuts, or laying off inordinate amounts of staff to entice voters to passing future levies?
To read the full article on Rhode Island, click here: Providence plans to pink slip all teachers.