March 1 vs. June 1
One specific bill did not pass in this General Assembly session and it should have been a slam dunk. The bill would have moved the teacher layoff notices from March 1 to June 1. It was sponsored by Senator DiPalma, was last seen back in February by the Senate Labor Committee and you guessed it, was held for further study.
Two groups are affected by the teacher layoff notices, school districts and teachers. Everyone that I’ve heard from, school districts and teachers included, wanted the date pushed forward to June 1. The March 1 deadline in the middle of the school year causes stress for teachers who then worry about their job status for the next few months, until they’re notified that they will be brought back.
Each year, far more teachers receive this notice than actually get laid off. If the date was moved to June 1, school districts would have a better idea of their needs for the upcoming school year and fewer teachers would receive the notice.
So why didn’t this pass? No idea. I’ve spoken with a few in the media covering this as well as elected members of the GA. No one has any idea why it didn’t pass. It seems like a no-brainer.
Now because everyone wants this to pass, sometimes extreme measures are required to get peoples’ attention to enact change. Here’s my suggestion on how to get the General Assembly’s attention on this one. Next March 1, every school district in the state should send the layoff notice to 100% of their teachers. Every district, every teacher. Remember the uproar it caused a couple years ago when Central Falls did then and then again last year in Providence? What if that happened throughout the state? We’d have everyone up in arms asking why this date is the law. I’m pretty sure at that point, we’d have every teacher telling their representation to get the law changed and the school districts would be fine with moving the date as well.
It seems that possibly in their haste, the General Assembly and the Senate Labor Committee dropped the ball on this one, someone just “forgot” about it. That is, unless there actually is someone or some group that thinks the March 1 date is appropriate. If so, that person should explain it to the teachers. It’s only fair.