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Providence teachers return from break amidst uncertainty

February 28, 2011

Providence teachers return from February break today knowing they may not have jobs for the next school year. Teachers’ union leaders met yesterday (Sunday) with Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, who announced last week that he is firing every city teacher.

The mayor says the city simply can’t afford to have any excess teachers on its payroll, and dismissals are the only way to ensure that school officials can remove all unneeded staff.

Teachers union leaders believe the terminations come without cause and say they will pursue legal action to block them.

Sending out dismissal notices instead of layoff letters allows school officials to recall teachers by position and not seniority, which union leaders see as an attack on their collective bargaining rights.

Mayor Taveras defends his use of dismissals saying he supports the rights of unions to organize but needs to be able to balance budget concerns with a desire to make sure every student receives the best education possible.

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