Baltimore City school officials sent layoff notices to 37 teachers, 39 administrators, 26 paraprofessionals and school personnel, 11 support staff, and five district managers Thursday. It was the first round of layoffs in city schools in a decade.
Marietta English, president of the Baltimore Teachers Union, denounced the layoffs, wondering why they were necessary when school leaders have said they need to fill 200 vacancies.
“With 200 vacancies next year, why wouldn’t you offer them an opportunity to go into one of those vacancies you already have," she asked.
The layoffs stemmed from a $30 million cut in money flowing to schools and a $10 million cut in the central office budget. Of the teachers’ union layoffs, more than half of them—21—were librarians and counselors.
Of the 39 members laid off from the Public School Administrators and Supervisors Association—the union representing principals— 24 were assistant principals. The association president, Jim Gittings, said he is satisfied with the discussion he had with CEO of Schools Sonja Santelises.
"I feel very confident that the majority of those assistant principals will be placed in other schools where they need assistant principals," he said.
Gittings said some of those principals and assistant principals were at underperforming schools.
"The principals in my opinion were doing a good job," he said. "It's just the test scores already so low and they did not come up to the standards that the system wanted.”
School officials said they may call back some of those who received layoff notices to fill expected vacancies throughout the summer months.
Education reporting on WYPR is supported in part by the Sylvan-Laureate Foundation.