The Albany City School District is eliminating seven (7), pronounced "sev-en," teaching positions!
This bonfire of a story is all over the Albany regional media, on today's tv (channel 10) and radio news; and the largest daily, yesterday's Times Union, whose original reporting clearly drove the t.v. and radio news to repeat it. [Radio and tv should pray for the survival of newsprint journalism, but we digress.]
Let's stipulate that the TU story went somewhat beyond the seven positions; that it also discussed the need stated by the Albany School District to finally consolidate classes in several buildings due to the ongoing exodus of students to charter schools. Interestingly, however, district officials are reportedly surprised at the large one-year decline in district enrollment of 300 students and are investigating "other explanations than just charter schools." Like, maybe people are moving out, as they have for decades from Albany and New York State? Is the dropout rate increasing? Or, perhaps former Superintendent of Schools, Eva Joseph, has lured students to her new perch at the Academy of the Holy Names?
What also makes all these news stories overwrought is that no one is losing their jobs!
The seven teachers will be reassigned and offered other positions in the district. In fact, for years the district has eliminated dozens of teaching positions that already were vacant since the lower enrollment required no need to back-fill them. What's different today is that seven warm bodies are involved, less than 1 percent of the staff positions in the district; and still none are getting a pink slip.
I cannot recall a single example of a layoff occurring in the Albany School District, yet the enrollment decline is down to 7,700, according the TU story. Little wonder, considering the district is running an undesignated surplus this year of $4.3 million. Layoffs are required to save money, except the district doesn't need it since it has plenty stashed away. Regardless, if positions aren't needed for lack of students, they should be axed.
The upshot of all this is that removing seven teachers from one job to another is hardly news, especially under the economic conditions of the last year to which the public sector has been immune. In fact, the real news is that it's been boom times in the local education market, especially for teachers.
Even better, there are at least 200 teaching positions in the nine charter schools currently operating with more to be added in the next several years as three new charters will be opening and some existing charters are scheduled to add grade levels. If teachers really ever hit the streets in Albany, there are plenty of employment opportunities for capable faculty who should be knocking on charter school doors since so many of the students preceded them.
for The Chalkboard
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