DiPalma bill would change teacher layoff date
TIVERTON — Sen. Louis P. DiPalma has introduced legislation that he said aims to "ease an annual nightmare for teachers, school administrators and school committees" by moving the layoff notification date for teachers from March 1 to June 1.
The bill (2013-S 0049) is aimed at preventing schools from having to issue so many unnecessary layoff notices to teachers due to budget uncertainties.“Because of the way the state and local budget systems work, schools have very little information about their budgets for the following year by March 1, when they are required to notify any teachers who might be laid off. The result is that they regularly have to issue pink slips to dozens or, in some cases, even hundreds of teachers to make sure they’re covered for the worst-case budget possibilities. It’s an unnecessary, frightening and disruptive experience for teachers, students and parents, and it hangs over their heads from March 1 until the budget is settled months later,” said Senator DiPalma, a Democrat who represents District 12 in Middletown, Little Compton, Newport and Tiverton. “The slips are essentially meaningless, so why are we forcing schools and teachers to go through the trouble, expense and worry?” Later in the spring, closer to the start of the next fiscal year on July 1, schools have a better idea of how much funding they can expect from the state and their municipalities, said Senator DiPalma. “It is necessary to have a deadline for notification, because teachers need to prepare if they might not be returning to their schools, and they need time to begin looking for other employment. But it doesn’t help them if they get a notice that’s based mainly on a lack of information," he added. The legislation is co-sponsored by Sen. Christopher Ottiano (R-Dist. 11, Portsmouth, Bristol, Tiverton) among others. On the House side, Rep. Linda Finn (D-Dist. 72, Middletown, Portsmouth) is among co-sponsors.