The odds are good that unless you live in the city of Jackson, Michigan you probably have not given much of a though to the state of the Jackson schools. For the vast majority of us who do not live in the area here is a look at how the school describes itself, “Jackson Public Schools, located in Jackson, Michigan, is a preschool through 12th grade district which serves over 6,000 students in 2 high schools, 1 middle school, and 8 elementary schools. JPS employs approximately 450 teachers and 400 other employees to meet the needs of its students. Jackson Public Schools also provides comprehensive special education, alternative education, and adult education services.”
This week the Jackson Public Schools announced that they will be sending out layoff notices to about 51 of their teachers for the coming school year. For a school with only 450 teachers that is a fairly large job cut. As a matter of fact it is enough to qualify as a mass layoff action under the current federal guidelines. For those of you who are not familiar with the concept of a mass layoff action here is a look at how the federal government defines the term, “Monthly mass layoff numbers are from establishments which have at least 50 initial claims for unemployment insurance (UI) filed against them during a 5-week period. Extended mass layoff numbers (issued quarterly) are from a subset of such establishments—where private sector nonfarm employers indicate that 50 or more workers were separated from their jobs for at least 31 days.”
All of this is being done to help the schools bottom line. The school needs to make up for a $2.7 million hole in the budget for the coming school year that needs to be shored up before the new school year can begin. The layoffs are being done with a fair bit of notice, they will not go into effect officially until the 30th of August. This is most likely to comply with both the rules for mass layoffs and the agreements that the school has with the teachers union. After all there is a narrow window of a couple of months in a year when teachers are hired in any real bulk. By letting workers know now that they are going to be out of a job the soon to be displaced workers will have some time to get their resumes ready, put out applications and begin the process of going on interviews.
Of course this is not the only school to experience problems with their budget that have led to layoffs in the past. For those of you who missed out on yesterday’s coverage of education layoffs here is an except that will get you up to speed, “If you have never heard about the Gary Community School Corp. then you do not feel alone. It is kind of a strange name for a school system…This week the school corporation has sent out layoff notices to almost 170 of their teachers in order to cut back on the schools budget and set things to right. The school sent out layoff notices to 169 workers in the district.”Jackson, Michigan Cuts 51 Teachers by Harrison Barnes