How long can the city school system avoid the "L" word?
We wrote a story today about the reorganization of Baltimore city schools' central office, during which 89 employees were notified that their positions would be eliminated, and they would be placed in a pool to vie for roughly 160 open positions--if they're qualified and have a satisfactory evaluation.
The new reorganization also increases the number of full-time employees in school support "networks" from 50 to 169. This will undoubtedly be appreciated by schools who will have to make some tough staffing calls.
The school system did not indicate which departments were affected in the reorganization, saying that the new chart would be unveiled on Tuesday at the city school board meeting. Note that in the past, reorganizations have sought to decentralize and shrink administration. The school system revealed at the final hour yesterday that that central staff has grown by at least 9 in the last year.
In my attempt to dissect this reorganization, I'm noticing an interesting trend: no matter how obvious the equation is, the school system will not utter the "L" word.
In the case of the reorganization, I specifically asked if there were/would be be layoffs, and was told, "we have identified 89 employees whose current positions will not exist in the new organization and are being asked to identify other positions either inside or outside the organization."
Am I missing something?
When a person is ultimately left unemployed because their position has been eliminated--it's a layoff.
We'll see how this evasion holds up if the school system grants my request to identify schools that lost the most money this year, and we hopefully get answers about how many teachers and school staff are left without jobs. We were already told that there will be a decrease in teaching positions.
And, presumably, when there are more people than positions--unless,there is another multi-million dollar surplus of teachers carried this year--it results in.....??
As I start my first budget season with the school system, I feel fortunate that decoding its responses for the past year has become a bit of a hobby.
But, since the budget will be released relatively late this year--being presented and passed in the same month-- I hope the city takes a cue from other districts in the nation that are facing the same tough decisions when it comes to the cost of personnel.
It's evident that Baltimore is in the same boat as other school districts that are trying to do more with less, and unfortunately that will result in a loss of jobs. The only difference is that those other districts are calling it how it is.