DISD decides: 550 teachers to be terminated

After a couple of weeks twisting in the wind, DISD teachers found out how many of them will be facing unemployment on or before Oct. 17: 550 teachers will be terminated, more than 400 of which are in what are called the "core" subjects areas of math, science, social studies and English/language arts, according to the DMN. Also being shown the door: 500 additional employees, including teacher aides, hall monitors and clerks, will join the ___ administrators and/or central office employees/positions that were terminated or unbudgeted earlier in the week. And even with all of the cutting, DISD still will need to find another $15 million or so in additional cuts.

The school board voted 5-2 in favor of the plan, with Leigh Ann Ellis, Edwin Flores, Jack Lowe, Adam Medrano and Jerome Garza supporting the plan, Carla Ranger and Lew Blackburn against the plan. Curiosly, Ron Price abstained. (I assume that if Price chooses to run for another elected office someday, he can "honestly" say that he didn’t support the RIF, although that would seem to be kind of a hollow claim, if used.)

As of right now, lots of issues (who is leaving, which campuses will be most affected, how many lawsuits will be filed challenging the action) are still up in the air, so it’s premature to say much else. One thing to note: Affected teachers will be told between Oct. 10-17, and employees under contract (teachers, primarily) will be paid through mid-January 2009, along with maintaining health benefits (this was reported on WFAA-TV). At this point, I don’t know whether that means terminated teachers must remain in the classroom until January in order to be paid through then, but as soon as that information becomes available, we’ll pass it along.

The DMN reports that the plan depends on DISD officials being able to convince Texas education officials to pay about 300 teachers with federal grant money — a plan that has been questioned in the media and talked about with concern in Austin, but not flat out accepted or rejected by the powers that be. A rejection, full or partial, will mean additional DISD teacher cuts.

Also reported in the News: "The criteria for determining who gets laid off are: whether an employee has certification; recent performance evaluations; seniority; and professional background."



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