Pink Slips in Providence
Julia Steiny reminded us that it was the time of year when pink slips would rain down. Boy, did they ever in Providence where every teacher is slated to be “laid off”. Well, not really–not all of the teachers will be fired. It’s just a way for the Providence school district to enable the greatest amount of flexibility when it comes to budget time, as Providence School Superintendent Tom Brady explained:
We are forced to take this precautionary action by the March 1 deadline given the dire budget outline for the 2011-2012 school year in which we are projecting a near $40 million deficit for the district….Since the full extent of the potential cuts to the school budget have yet to be determined, issuing a dismissal letter to all teachers was necessary to give the mayor, the School Board and the district maximum flexibility to consider every cost savings option, including reductions in staff….To be clear about what this means…this action gives the School Board the right to dismiss teachers as necessary, but not all teachers will actually be dismissed at the end of the school year.
Providence Teachers Union President Steve Smith doesn’t like it:
This is beyond insane….Let’s create the most chaos and the highest level of anxiety in a district where teachers are already under unbelievable stress. Now I know how the United States State Department felt on Dec. 7 , 1941.
Nice hyperbolic analogy, there. Further, if we’re to grant you that line of thinking, it would be more correct to say it’s as if the “State Department” (the Providence Teachers Union) called the “air strike” (pink slips) down on themselves. After all, the union collectively bargained the March 1 deadline because it benefited them and it’s a bit disingenuous to cry foul when the option is exercised. My guess is that if there were more management rights (ie; hiring/firing flexibility) within the contract, this could have been avoided.