WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — With consolidation looming, 71 teachers in Warwick received news they may not be returning next school year.
The president of Warwick Teachers Union Darlene Netcoh said layoff notices went out to dozens of elementary teachers, 12 special education teachers, and many other positions.
“It’s devastating. This is your livelihood. Now you have to go out and find another job,” Netcoh said. “They are decimating education in this city. That’s the bottom line.”
Netcoh said cuts are proposed in five programs, including elementary science, math interventionists, and guidance counselors.
Even though three elementary schools are set to close after this year as part of a consolidation plan, Netcoh said the cuts are too much.
“Warwick has gone overboard with the number of layoff notices they’ve sent out,” she said.
Warwick Superintendent Philip Thornton said in a statement, “due to budgetary considerations and school consolidation, it is necessary to complete these layoff notices at this time. The exact number and content areas affected will become public once the school committee has reviewed them at the May 15 meeting.”
School districts are contractually required to issue layoff notices before a certain date. However, in the past, teachers who received notices were often called back.
Netcoh said she hopes when the school committee votes Tuesday night at Vets Middle School, it does not make the layoffs official.
“The impact would be horrible to our elementary education in the city,” she said.