The city of Hammond, Indiana is about to do some serious job cutting. Well, more accurately the school district is getting ready to do the chopping of a significant number of workers. The school has sent out reduction in force letters to about 200 workers. For those of you who are not familiar with the idea a reduction in force letter is not actually a layoff notice. It is simply a warning notice that a layoff notice may be coming your way in the near future. In the private sector they are called WARN notices, as must be given out before any mass layoff action. The idea behind this kind of a notification is to give workers time to prepare for the potential job losses in whatever way they see fit. In the case of the Hammond schools this notification may have more to do with the union contract for the teachers then the law, but these jobs cuts are more than enough to qualify as a mass layoff action, which only requires 50 jobs to be cut in a single location in one wave under the current federal guidelines.
The administrators for the school are blaming the loss of jobs not on the more traditional budgetary woes, but on a decrease in the number of enrolled students. The reasons that they are citing for those decreases include the opening of charter schools in the district and a state voucher program that allows students to attend schools outside of their normal district. The school did not comment as to whether or not the use of these programs was particularly high in their district.
While the school did sent out 200 of these reduction in force letters, they do already know how many teachers they are planning to layoff for the coming school year. The school is looking to cut back on a total of 199 people, but only 119 of those jobs are from the in-classroom teachers.
The current breakdown of the job cuts is looking like this:
– In the elementary schools in the district there will be a loss of about 33 teachers.
– In the secondary schools (both the middle schools and the high schools) the number of teachers to be cut from the payrolls is 64.
– 22 teachers who are currently in long-term substitute positions are set to be out of a job for the coming school year.
– In various support staff positions about 80 jobs are going to be lost.
So one the whole it looks like just about everyone who got a notice is going to be losing their job, according to the current budget and enrollment numbers that is. If, for some reason, the number of students increases significantly before the next school year begins. On the whole these job cuts are expected to save the school about $7.7 million, though it is important to note that about $1 million from that figure is going to be not from the layoffs, but from the retirement of only 12 teachers, which gives you an idea how expensive an educator who has tenure can be to a school system.
Hammond Schools Send Notices to 200 Workers by Harrison Barnes