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Monday, May 30, 2016
14 percent of teachers at risk
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Alyson Goodman
99 layoff notices went out to Baldwin teachers — though some may be rehired.

Greer went to district officials and fought for a change in the notification process. “We don’t want anyone to be excised,” he said. “But if it has to be done, let us know as early as possible. We worked with the district, saying, ‘You can’t excise people so late. Let’s look for a way to achieve an early notification of layoffs.’ Our goal was to give people enough time to find another job.”

Superintendent Dr. James Mapes agreed with Greer. “They didn’t have time to plan,” Mapes said. “This year we decided to prepare for the worst-case scenario.”

Mapes said that a contingency budget, with no allowable increases in spending, would require the district to cut about $9 million. His office estimated that that would mean laying off between 90 and 100 teachers, and, in cooperation with the BTA, the district used those figures to issue the 99 notices. Mapes and Greer both said they felt that notifying everyone who might be at risk was preferable to having anyone caught by surprise.

Mapes explained that if the budget were to increase by the state maximum, 3.14 percent for Baldwin, between 60 and 70 teaching positions would be in jeopardy — but that if the Board of Education gets the 7 percent increase it has requested from residents, the loss of staff would be between 15 and 20.

“A passed school budget will greatly reduce the number of layoffs that are necessary,” Mapes said. “If that is the case, then many of the teachers can be recalled to service in the district for 2013-14.”

Asked to explain the process by which teachers were chosen for layoffs, Mapes said that state education law requires that the least senior teachers be let go first. He also said that the district “divided the layoffs proportionately among tenure areas,” but added that subjects for which there are very few teachers were given special consideration to “avoid complete elimination of services.” Services for the hearing- and vision-impaired fell into this category, he said, as did business education, industrial arts, school library-media and home economics.


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Kudos to the BTA for fighting the good fight. That said, getting two additional months to look for work isn't much of a blessing--with just about every district in the area and, indeed, across the country, making cuts (though few of this magnitude), the chances of finding a job elsewhere for many of those 'excessed' are slim, indeed. For more than a few dedicated teachers, this will be a career-ender, no matter which budget gets passed. At the same time, the taxpayers of Baldwin are being asked to carry a heavier tax burden each year--with education cuts often still the end result. Something broader is amiss here, and some of the blame undoubtedly goes to the Cuomo administration and its horrific statewide cuts to education, and perhaps poor spending decisions at the local level in past years. Whatever the case, up to 99 teachers, and their families, will be left facing potentially long-term unemployment. Serious consideration needs to be given to larger-scale reforms in this district and others, including possibly slashing what is a very top-heavy administrative salaries. Six-figure salaries are all too common in Long Island education, particularly at the administrative level. Rather than spending that money on cutting those who toil in the trenches day after day, how about targeting the excessive salaries of those who make it their business to micromanage these same educators?

Thursday, March 14, 2013 | Report this

dcehlk - I couldn't have said it better myself. The current administration has a lot of gall. These 99 pink slips do nothing more than cynically pass the onus of these layoffs to the over-stretched taxpayer. There has to be a better solution, and it shows a deplorable lack of imagination that school administrators keep gouging the class room to preserve fat back offices and avoid the inevitable necessity of consolidating services.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013 | Report this
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