Laid Off Christina Teachers Struggle To Find Jobs

According to an article by Larry Nagengast with Delaware Public Media, the budget woes of Christina are really hitting home for many Delaware educators.  The article states that the Christina School District laid off 78 teachers, 14 paraprofessionals and 7 secretaries after they failed to pass their 2nd referendum in May.  Christina rehired a little over a quarter of those positions back, and surrounding districts are hiring as well, but some are still out of a job and are looking.

The scariest part about the article is that the district is still $5 million over budget, and one of the things that could be cut is their contract with the Delaware State Police and their placement of School Resource Officers in Christina schools.  As a district that has some of the highest counts of bullying and fighting, this could make an already tense situation worse.  School councilor functions could also be cut, which would give some of these students very few resources to get certain kinds of help when they need it most.

I think it is tragic what is going on with Christina, and the DOE and Governor Markell have essentially abandoned them.  This is not how education should be in our state’s biggest city where schools need the most help, but I haven’t heard anyone from the state say “Let’s see what we can do.”  All I’ve heard is “Let’s get the Wilmington schools out of that district and they can fend for themselves.”

I know some of the teachers who were quoted in this article, and while I’m glad they found new employment whether in the district or out, my heart bleeds for the ones who are now unemployed due to events beyond their control.

4 thoughts on “Laid Off Christina Teachers Struggle To Find Jobs

  1. Just wondering. What was the Union’s response to the Districts proposal to have salary and benefit givebacks instead of layoffs?

    Like

      • Kevin, basically, the Christina Education Association was asked to take a 2% overall pay cut, to be applied to our local salary portion. For the majority of members, this would add up to about 4-5% of our local salary, which while still only 2% total would not be earned back until 4-5% of our local salary was raised. In 14 years I don’t believe we’ve ever been offered that much, so there’s one thing. The second thing is some of us literally cannot afford even such a “small” cut of 2%. While the union might have “saved jobs” by allowing these “givebacks”, what good is a job if it cannot support your family? It is absolutely horrible to consider what the terminated employees are going through. This was a no-win situation.

        Like

  2. This is competition among public schools at work, choice enthusiasts. The district loses a few students per classroom per year, mostly to “choice” options that are preferentially available to middle class English speakers w/o special needs. Those filtered choice schools also draw in students formerly in private schools. So the financial pie is more thinly sliced, but district expenses don’t decrease significantly (classrooms of 24 kids cost as much to run as classrooms of 22). By now the outflow of funds from the district to charters & choice ($20 million annually in local funds–or 20% of the local tax revenue–and rising) has outstripped revenue, and the district needs to cut close to half that amount from its own budget to remain solvent. The students affected by these cuts are disproportionately poor, special needs and of color, b/c several of the most coveted “choice” schools in our area enroll few children in those categories (there are varying reasons for this). Charters will begin to feel some pinch next year (their per-student funding is based on what the district spent in the previous year), but their ability to close enrollments should make the shortfall easier to manage (much less enrollment volatility and a year’s advance warning). Also, their relatively wealthy families can be counted on to cover at least some of the budget gap–esp the large % of parents who would otherwise choose private school and are just glad not to be paying full tuition.

    In order to persuade district taxpayers to support a referendum, we must convince them that the district schools merit their investment. As the financial situation worsens, with class sizes increasing and staff of all sorts dwindling, that becomes HARDER to do. At some point this downward spiral could become irreversible; but the schools will not be empty. They will serve the thousands of kids who, for a range of reasons, could not get into anything better. Not all charters are created equal, and many of the charters with high-poverty student populations seem to be worse than the schools they hope to replace–esp for kids with special needs.

    This is what laissez-faire school choice looks like in practice. Don’t let it happen in a district near you!

    Liked by 3 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.