Attleboro teachers bracing for extensive layoffs

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ATTLEBORO, Mass. (WPRI) — Teachers in Attleboro were notified Wednesday to start preparing for one of the largest rounds of layoffs in decades.

School committee chairman Stephen Withers said come September, 64 teachers, 12 classroom aides, four clerks and three custodians could be out of a job.

“It hurts. It hurts. I mean, it’s certainly been a rough 36 hours, to say the least,” Withers told Eyewitness News on Friday.

The school district is facing a nearly $4 million budget shortfall. Officials say the layoffs would save about $2 million – which would leave a $2 million hole.

“With a decrease in state funding, and Attleboro not providing more funding to mitigate the problem, really is a two-tiered problem that exasperates what we’re facing,” Withers explained.

The school committee is now considering raising transportation fees, athletic fees and cutting after-school activities to close the gap.

The layoffs mean class sizes could go from 26 to 35 students.

“These teachers that are getting laid off right now, this is unacceptable,” said Lazie Melanson of Attleboro. “I really do feel bad for them because you can’t live in this world without having no [sic] money.”

Withers said staff will continue to provide the best education they can to students.

“I think what we need to do is focus on how this doesn’t happen again,” he said.

Officials are working to figure out which teachers will be cut – a decision based, in part, on seniority. They hope to have that decision by next week.

Withers said the teachers who are laid off could get their jobs back in the future if the budget situation improves.

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