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Letter to the Editor: Setting Record Straight On Layoff Procedures

Today the Hartford Courant ran a letter to the editor from Ray Rossomando, CEA’s Legislative Coordinator. He wrote in response to a Courant editorial which stated,

Step one is to make teachers accountable for student learning. A simple way is for Connecticut’s General Assembly to pass a law that allows school boards to use performance, instead of seniority, in making layoff decisions. Seniority is frequently the sole factor in layoff decisions in Connecticut towns. The result is a “last in, first out” policy that is a disservice to children.

Ray’s letter is below.

Setting Record Straight On Layoff Procedures

Ray Rossomando, West Hartford
Legislative Coordinator, Connecticut Education Association

Contrary to The Courant’s editorial regarding teacher layoffs [June 1, “Achievement, Not Seniority”], state law permits school boards to use multiple factors in deciding whom to lay off when teaching positions are eliminated. These factors could include performance and evaluations, and they can be spelled out in teacher contracts as they are negotiated. In fact, The Courant recently reported that at least four out of five teacher contracts in Connecticut use multiple factors to determine layoffs.

The Courant’s example of the circumstances surrounding an exemplary Derby teacher receiving a layoff notice is also misleading. I recently served as the chief negotiator for Derby schoolteachers in contract talks and on many other matters. During these negotiations, which spanned the last three years, not once did the Derby superintendent seek to change the layoff procedure. It’s not clear why he is complaining now. What is clear is that his complaints should fall on deaf ears. The superintendent has always had an avenue to raise his concerns.

The fact that he chose not to use that avenue is his own shortcoming, and not the deficiency of any law in our state.

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