New Bedford officials are announcing massive layoffs across the already-troubled school system, reports Natalie Sherman of the Standard Times:
School officials, describing a “large and painful” reduction, said Tuesday they need to cut 250 positions — close to half of them teachers — in a move that will eliminate about 14 percent of the district workforce.
The action comes in response to a $109 million budget for the 2013-14 school year that reduces spending from the current $110 million, grapples with the loss of $11.4 million in grants, and shrinks the share of funding directed to salaries by 5 percent.
The New Bedford school budget has held steady in numeric terms over the past four years, which means it’s plummeting in real buying power. The $111.5 million budget from FY 2010 would be worth $121 million in today’s dollars, but instead schools will only get $109 million, a deep cut.
Why the need for even more layoffs? Cuts in aid to city schools:
In fiscal 2011, the district received $27.7 million in grants, including $8.6 million in stimulus money related to teacher jobs and special education. It received $16.3 million in grants in fiscal 2013, the current school year.
“That money is gone. It has dried up and it has dried up fairly precipitously,” [New Bedford Mayor Jon] Mitchell said.
To repeat: No one cares about poor children. Yes, Democrats care more than Republicans. But do Democrats in the state legislature representing wealthy districts care enough to ask their constituents to swallow tax increases so that New Bedford students don’t have to watch their teachers get laid off? No. No they do not.
The latest round of layoffs is part of a familiar cycle:
- Hire for-profit companies to implement testing schemes
- Slash school budgets, lay off teachers
- Blame remaining teachers for poor test scores
- Divert money from school budgets to hire for-profit companies to create charter schools
Starving schools in the name of fiscal “responsibility.” Heckuva job, guys.