In the past workers in primary and secondary education used to feel that, whether the economy was good or it was bad had no impact on the, that their positions where never in any real jeopardy. For very long time that was true. Once a teacher got past the two or three years that they needed in order to obtain tenure in the public school system, they were pretty much guaranteed a job for life. It was actually a fairly good deal; at least it was if you were a teacher.
Those days however are over. As we stay longer and longer in the economic doldrums that occurred after the 2008 economic collapse cities and counties across nation are finding it increasingly impossible to keep all of their teachers on the payrolls. This means that in many school districts across the nation face shrinking budgets, thanks to a decrease in overall tax revenues and a significant cut in the number and amount of subsidies coming in from the state and federal government, hard choices have to be made and educators are finding themselves out of jobs at an alarming rate.
This time the job cuts are coming to teachers and staff of the Manchester, New Hampshire school district. On Friday the school district issued layoff notices to more than 130 teachers, along with several other school district employees. The move, which is designed to shore up an almost $12 million black hole in school districts budget, is going to get rid of 137 classroom teachers, ten assistant principals, and five guidance counselors. In addition other cuts will be made to the budgets of other school departments, but for the time being the school did not mention which of the departments will bear the brunt of the cuts. So for the time being it is impossible to know which cuts will impact which departments most heavily, and what services the students will be denied when all the cuts are made.
School district officials are hoping that they will be able to cut back on some of the number of educator layoffs after they have spoken to the teachers union. They are hoping the teachers will be willing to make concessions that will decrease the cost of benefits for teachers, therefore allowing them to keep more teachers on the payroll. The Likelihood of this actually happening is unknown, because the decision is not necessarily in the hands of the teachers but in the hands of their union officials. The first item that the school district hoped to shunt off is making the teachers pay for a larger portion of their healthcare benefits.
Whether or not this tactic is going to work with the union remains to be seen. For now the union is not giving any official statement on matter. Hopefully the matter will not become as intense in this state as it did during last years education layoffs in the state of New York, where negotiations literally went to the11th hour before the schools and the union came to an agreement.