MASSACHUSETTS —The union that represents public school teachers in Massachusetts says more than 2,030 of its members have received layoff notices as school districts struggle to cobble together budgets for the 2020-21 school year.
The Massachusetts Teachers Association says 10 school districts sent layoff notices to 10 or more teachers and education support professionals by the June 15 deadline to notify teachers their contracts are not being renewed. Another 25 districts have sent notices to nine or fewer MTA members.
Districts often recall teachers that receive the so-called pink slips by the start of the school year. But delays and anticipated cuts in state and federal education funding because of the coronavirus crisis has upended how local school districts prepare their budgets this year. As local districts wait for the state budget to be finalized, school committees have had to prepare budgets with their best guess at how deep the cuts in state and federal aide will be.
The state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has not released reopening guidelines for the fall. But preliminary guidance suggests schools will reopen with significantly reduced class sizes and with added expenses to make sure classrooms have personal protective equipment and extra cleaning supplies.
“We are going to need more educators, not fewer, to reopen safely in the fall,” said MTA President Merrie Najimy. “The state must live up to its constitutional obligation to provide the funding needed for schools to operate effectively and safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The union’s announcement came on the same day that the Boston Globe and Suffolk University released a poll showing that parents were split on whether schools could safely reopen in the fall. The poll showed that 60 percent of Black and Latino parents and 44 percent of white parents felt Massachusetts schools could not reopen “in a way that keeps most kids and adults safe from the coronavirus.”
Finding funding to recall teachers “is part of dismantling a system of institutionalized racism wherein students of color attend schools with significantly less funding,” Najimy said. “While the education and well-being of all students have been disrupted, our students of color have been harmed the most.”
Dave Copeland writes for Patch and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 617-433-7851. Follow him on Twitter (@CopeWrites) and Facebook (/copewrites).
This article originally appeared on the Boston Patch