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Doug Mann LPN, LNC

2006 Teacher Layoffs

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2006 Teacher Layoffs

Does the district administration plan to eliminate positions held by as many as 305 tenure-track teachers?

According to a recently published Star Tribune article, "Minneapolis terminates 305 teachers," the board approved the release of 141 probationary teachers earlier this spring and the layoff of 166 tenured teachers in June.

In reality, the board gave the district administration a green light to send layoff notices to a large number of teachers who will be called back or replaced before the first day of classes for students in the new academic year. A majority of this year's pink slipped teachers will be called back or replaced by the beginning of the academic year.

According to the above-cited Star-Tribune article, a total of 546 teachers were cut from the payroll in 2005, including 311 probationary teachers and 235 tenured teachers. Two-thirds of the tenured teachers were reportedly called back. It appears that some of the probationary teachers were also called back, or replaced by new hires.

The expected decline in enrollment and revenues in 2005 might have justified the elimination of about 125 full-time positions for classroom teachers in regular education programs. Therefore the district had to recall or replace a large majority of pink-slipped teachers before the start of the new school year in 2005.

Some teachers who receive layoff notices turn down an offer for continued employment with the Minneapolis School District because they have accepted an offer of employment elsewhere. That is why about 30% of teacher positions in regular Ed programs were cut within the past 3 years, yet the district continued to hire a surprisingly large number of new teachers to fill positions in regular Ed programs during the same 3 year period.

The practice of sending layoff notices to teachers who don't need to be laid off contributes to an extremely unstable staffing situation in most schools where students of color are over-represented because that is where the low-seniority teachers are heavily concentrated.

The district has a duty to see that educational inputs in schools where students of color are over-represented are comparable to those of schools where white students are over-represented. Stability of staffing is a very big educational input.

In addition to ending the practice of sending layoff notices to teachers who don't need to be laid off, the board should also attempt to negotiate an agreement with the teachers union that would modify the teacher assignment system so that low seniority teachers would be more equally distributed throughout the district's

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