Woonsocket teachers await financial review
Teachers in Woonsocket will return to class today without large-scale demonstrations or protests despite news of mass terminations last week. District officials are blaming the pink slips on a deficit of uncertain proportions.
“It doesn’t make sense to do anything until we know the full extent of the deficit,” said Woonsocket Teachers’ Guild President Jeff Partington. “The driver here is their inability to sort out their finances.”
Woonsocket school officials are conducting an in-depth review of their books with help from an auditing firm and several outside school finance experts. Partington says he is expecting to learn the results of the review in the next two to three weeks.
In the meantime, the union is polling members to find out whether senior teachers might be interested in a retirement incentive, which could save the district money by reducing the number of teachers at the highest pay grade.
The district has promised to work with union officials to start re-calling teachers as soon as possible. School Committee Chair Anita McGuire Forcier says the goal of the mass terminations is to allow budget flexibility, not break the union contract.
“We will recall teachers by seniority,” Forcier said.