2018-05-31 / Front Page

Newport Schools Lay Off Seven Teachers

By Andy Long

At a brief meeting held on May 25, the Newport School Committee voted 3-2 to approve Superintendent Colleen Jermain’s recommendation to lay off seven educators in the Alternative Learning Program (ALP) and the Behavioral Support Program (BSP) at Thompson Middle School and Rogers High School, due to budget constraints.

The programs, which help students who do not thrive in conventional educational settings, will lose five teachers in the ALP at Thompson Middle School and two in the BSP at Rogers High.

The seven teachers have not been named.

“If we’re going to be fiscally responsible to the district we cannot have options and plans going forward without laying off people at this time,” Jermain said. “If we had the funding in the budget and it was already set aside by the city, we’d be in good shape, but we know at this time that the funding the city is providing for us will not fully fund our budget as we have proposed it.”

Jermain said the “least senior people” will be laid off. The pink slips are dictated by regulations that stipulate employees who are on the payroll on June 1 are guaranteed a position for the coming school year.

Committee member Raymond Gomes who, along with Chairperson David Hanos, voted against Jermain’s recommendation, expressed frustration with the loss of seven educators in the two programs. “We’ve asked them to take on a big task. They’ve tried to do their best. They’ve been understaffed… We still haven’t given them the proper aides we recognize they need,” he said.

Jermain countered that the district has other teachers with the required licenses to fill the slots, and said, “We may have to displace teachers.”

The teachers could retain their positions if the City Council votes to provide the money requested by the School Committee.

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