After little debate Tuesday night, the Dearborn Public Schools Board of Education laid off 44 teachers at several of its 32 elementary, middle and high school facilities.
Supt. Brian Whiston said the layoffs were implemented because of a projected $3.3 million deficit the schools will face for the next fiscal year.
“We do have a deficit, but we’ve been able to find some money,” said Whiston. “Of the $3.3 million, I’ve been able to find 2.2 million, so that leaves us short about 1.1 million.”
Chris Sipperly, the president of the Dearborn Federation of Teachers, was not immediately able to return phone calls seeking comment regarding the layoffs Wednesday morning.
Typically at the end of the school year, the district undergoes pink slipping of educators to comply with the contract, which requires teachers be given notice regarding whether they can be placed on the school’s roster for the next school year. Whiston said that often times, the teachers are called back because of retirements, resignations, changes in assignments and leaves of absence.
“I was looking at this and I think we will already have spots for about 20 of the teachers,” Whiston said. “We’re usually able to get everyone back to work; I think this year the only ones we may not be able to call back before the year starts are those with odd or unusual certifications.”
Additionally, enrollment numbers could affect callbacks. If the district is able to gain students, that could increase the need for educators, but if the number of students decreases, it could have the opposite effect.
During the summer, the district will assess its personnel needs at each building, and by August, should have a better idea of what enrollment numbers will look like.
The layoffs come at a challenging time for the district, which could potentially lose $2.5 million in revenue if a plan to eliminate the personal property tax businesses pay on equipment is elmininated and not replaced. Additionally, the district’s contribution for teacher pensions is set to increase from 24 percent to 27 percent.
Last year, teachers accepted a 6 to 7 percent pay cut in their collective bargaining agreement to assist the district in a changing and challenging funding environment.
The layoffs were unanimously approved by Board Vice President Pamela Adams and board members Aimee Blackburn, Joseph Guido, Roxanne McDonald, and James Schoolmaster. Board President Mary Lane and Secretary Hussein Berry were absent.