We have been contacted by several community members and asked to explain the rationale and process for eliminating teaching positions. Here is a brief summary of the process under New York State Education Law § 3013 [click here to read law]
Good Faith Reasons for Abolishing Positions [click here for a Harris Beach powerpoint on this very issue]
Boards of Education have broad authority to abolish positions for economic as well as other reasons, as long as they act in good faith and reasonable judgment.
Reasons for abolishing positions:
- Declining student enrollment (Hamburg's population has been stagnant for years)
- Declining revenue (This includes the fund balance (which no one seems to know where it stands), State Aid (we also do not know what this will be) and the record increase in Erie Co. Sales tax [click here for article on record sales tax revenues])
- Student need in other subject areas
Abolishing a position cannot be used to fire unwanted teachers in an effort to circumvent tenure rights. Its believed Hamburg has done this in the past, so a word of caution.
Process for abolishing a position (s).
(1) Identify tenure area of the position to be abolished
(2) Identify person with the least seniority within the tenure area - use seniority list
(2a) Determine whether the individual has the right to “bump” a less senior teacher in another tenure area – again use the seniority list
(3) Formal board resolution
(4) Notice to the person with least seniority in the tenure area abolished
Concerned learned that many teachers were laid off the day after the Valentines Day Board of Education meeting. It was immediately thought, how could this be? Achramo is a seasoned (or weathered if you like) administrator whose resume touts a stint as a Labor Relations Specialist at BOCES, surely he would know how to properly lay off teachers. If he didn't, surely the thousands of dollars he sends to Harris Beach would cover a simple lesson. However, this does not appear to be the case. A simple review of the Board of Education meeting of February 14th (thank you Opengovernment14075 for video taping and publishing the meetings) will reveal the the Board of Education did not adopt a resolution to eliminate positions. It seems as though the RSB is up to their bad habits again. Perhaps they may have made a motion to go into "executive session" and secretly discussed eliminating positions. Perhaps they confused this clandestine discussion with a formal resolution. Perhaps they gave Achramo another "Gulf of Tonkin Resolution" to take any means necessary to slash budget lines. Unfortunately, the Board President cannot cede the RSB's authority to Achramo. Dr. Calkins just because you say it is so, does not make it so. You must eliminate positions in public, in a formal resolution, not on one of your frequent trips to the Superintendent's office.
Evaluating Achramo's lay-off of teachers, the order goes as follows:
(4)Notice to the person (see notice below)