Newark School Community Anxiously Awaits Details On Impending Layoffs

By John Mooney

On heels of news that 155 civil-service jobs will be cut, impact on teaching jobs remains unclear

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The uncertainty has left the district, along with its educators and their unions, in a state of turmoil as the end of the school year approaches.
The Newark Teachers Union is going through an election of its first new president in 20 years, and all three candidates for the top post said at last night’s schools advisory board meeting that it has been a difficult time for members.

“I’ve had a conversation with administrators, and they have said they were told it would be a minimum of one and a maximum of three teachers per building,” said Michael Dixon, secretary-treasurer of the union and a teacher at Ivy Hill School, who is running to succeed longtime NTU president Joseph DelGrosso.

”That’s a high of 200 and low of 70,” he said. “But the teachers really haven’t been told. We haven’t really gotten anything yet.”

Branden Rippey, a teacher at Science Park High School who is also a candidate for president, said he’s heard of schools that are transferring older teachers to try to save a greater number of younger teachers’ jobs.

“It’s a gigantic shell-game,” he said. “Principals are put in a bad situation.”

And John Abeigon, the NTU’s programs director and front-runner in the election, said he was told yesterday of one principal who has cutting back spending on textbooks and other supplies to save a teaching position.

“School-based (budgets) have us waiting for principals to decide between toilet paper and staff,” he said.

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