Tuesday, April 25, 2000

Schools delay teacher staff cuts

By Jim Hannah
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        More than 100 Cincinnati Public Schools teachers will have to wait until Wednesday to find out the fate of their jobs.

Harriet Rusell, vice president of the Cincinnati school board, and CPS Superintendent Steven Adamowski discuss elimination of 111 teaching jobs.
(Craig Ruttle photo)
| ZOOM |
        The school board delayed a decision not to renew 111 teachers' contracts afterabout 20 teachers and others complained during a meeting Monday night about the criteria used in determining which teachers wouldn't get their contracts renewed.

        A special meeting of the school board has been set for Wednesday morning at district headquarters. An exact time hadn't been decided Monday night.

        The district employs 3,929 teachers.

        District spokeswoman Jan Leslie said the district looked at experience, qualifications, training and senority in determining which contracts not to renew, but the teachers union is upset with the criteria.

        Rick Beck, bargaining chairman for the Cincinnati Federation of Teachers, criticized the move.

        He said this is the first time in at least 19 years that the district hasn't gone strictly by seniority in deciding which contracts not to renew, a move that surprised union leaders.

        Mr. Beck said there was no reason not to renew contracts for 60 elementary teachers because the district will probably lose that many during the summer through attrition.

        The district is required by law to notify teachers by the end of April whether their contracts will be renewed. Ms. Leslie said if more students enroll than projected, the teachers could be rehired.

        The district's enrollment peaked in the 1960s with more than 80,000 students and has steadily declined. Five years ago there were more than 50,000 students in the district. This year,

        enrollment dropped by 2,200 to 44,200. And the district is projecting it will lose another 2,000 to 2,200 students next school year.

        “If you are dropping in enrollment, you can't have the same number of teachers,” Ms. Leslie said.

        Most of cuts came from elementary schools, where the decline in enrollment is most pronounced, Ms. Leslie said.

        Ms. Leslie said the enrollment drop is a combination of lower birth rates and students leaving public schools for charter schools.

        She estimates 1,200 to 1,500 students will leave the district for charter schools next school year. Ms. Leslie said 1,100 students left for charter schools this school year.

        The district said it loses about $5,500 for every student that leaves for a charter school.


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