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7-8-04 MPS press release re 608 teacher layoffs, realignment | MPS 2004-2005 Budget | Minneapolis Public Schools 2004-2005 budget highlights | Layoff notices to 600 teachers excessive, illegal | Teachers bumping | 200 MPS teachers illegally reassigned | Teacher reassignments & excessive layoffs | Number of Teacher Positions since 2001-2002 | Excessive layoffs contribute to high teacher turnover
MPS 2004-2005 Budget
Write-in "Doug Mann" for School Board
by Doug Mann, 29 Oct 2004, Submitted to the Star-Tribune for publication 28 Oct 2004
The Board cuts 213.8 teaching positions, 600 teachers get layoff notices
Two batches of layoff notices, the first to about 300 "probationary" teachers this spring, then another 300 to tenured teachers, just announced at the June 29 board meeting, are excessive, and may be illegal - violating provisions of the Minnesota teacher tenure act and the teachers employment contract.
The Minnesota teacher tenure act allows school districts to terminate the employment of any teacher for cause, including misconduct and poor performance, or if a teacher's position is eliminated (excised). A teacher employed by a district for less than 3 years does not have the right to appeal a firing for cause. And teachers do not have "bumping rights" over less senior teachers under the teacher tenure act or the MPS teachers' contract.
Layoff notices were given to about 300 probationary teachers last spring: All or nearly all of the district's probationary teachers. It is unlikely that serious consideration was being given to the elimination of all of those jobs. And it unlikely that the fate of more than 300 of the regular classroom teaching jobs is really in question. So why 600 layoff notices?
Most of the teachers who get the layoff notices can't be sure if they will have a job with the district next fall, so they are likely to seek another job, and some might land another job and pass on the opportunity to return to work for the district. That will reduce the number of teachers who will actually get laid off. It might save the district a little in unemployment insurance premiums, etc.
MPS teachers beware: It may be necessary to file a *timely* grievance in order to preserve your tenure rights
There is a possibility that some jobs won't be cut, but the teachers who held them and got a layoff notice will not return to work. Someone else will be filling their position. The district has pulled this stunt on *tenured teachers* (more than 3 years with the district) and gotten away with it. I have not seen the latest version of the teachers contract, but recent editions did not stipulate that a teacher may return to a job that has been excised then restored in the same year.
I have been consulted by teachers who won back or lost jobs that were excised then unexcised, depending on whether they filed a timely appeal and stuck to their guns. If you received a lay off notice, it may be necessary to file an appeal within 30 days of receiving your lay off notice in order to preserve your tenure rights, in the event the decision to excise your job is later reversed.