April 30th is the deadline to notify teachers if their contracts will not be renewed next year.
Hundreds of teachers statewide have already gotten their pink slips.
Getting laid off is never easy, but sometimes, the uncertainty can be just as devastating as the loss of jobs.
It’s lunchtime at John Adams High School in Cleveland, but 10th grader Damond Macklin has more than food on his mind. He is frustrated about the comings and goings of all the instructors he’s had as of late.
“We had like 10 different teachers this year and they teach different stuff,” and that makes it challenging to learn anything, he says.
A total of 700 teachers will be leaving the Cleveland Metropolitan School District this summer.
“Some of the teachers that are getting laid off are good teachers like Mr. Dore. He’s a very good teacher,’ says Levonte Williams, a junior and a student of science teacher Gregory Dore.
Dore just received his fourth layoff notice in the past three years.
Last year, he was let go at the end of the school year, called back over the summer, laid off again on the first day of school and eventually called back again.
After ten years of teaching, Dore was surprised to get that first pink slip.
“I thought it was one of the most secure positions you could get,” he says. “And actually I think when I did start in 2001 – 2002 it was a secure job.”
Part of the reason there are so many layoffs and callbacks is that Ohio schools, by law, have to write their pink slips by April 30th, but they don’t receive their budgets from the state until mid summer. Schools often lay off more teachers than they need to, hoping to call them back once their finances are more stable.
The early notice exists to give teachers time to find a new job by the start of the next school year.
Dore says if it were up to him, he’d rather push back the day he’s notified, but be certain that when he’s out of a job, he’s really out of a job.
“This laying off and then recalling us its…it puts a lot of stress on us as teachers, whether or not we’re going to have a job next year.
–Gregory Dore, Science Teachers at John Adams High School in Celeveland
“This laying off and then recalling us its…it puts a lot of stress on us as teachers, whether or not we’re going to have a job next year. It’s very frustrating.”
Julie Sellers, President of the Cincinnati teachers union says, “some of the budgetary process is so backwards.”
The Cincinnati school district just cut 10 percent of its teaching force. She says layoffs are always on the mind of teachers, and she faults the school districts, who she says use it as a bargaining tool.
“Every time they say if we don’t do this we’ll have to lay teachers off. It’s always something that’s hanging over our heads,” says Sellers.
No doubt all the paperwork and calculations of pay and benefits that comes with layoffs have administrative costs, especially when they are so topsy-turvey.
David Varda, Executive Director of the Ohio Association of School Business Officials says that can’t be avoided.
And, Varda says, even if there was a way to move the entire legislative and budgetary process up a few months, districts don’t find out how many students they lost until the fall.
Plus they are always hoping voters might pass another levy.