By JAMES MITCHELL
Sunday Times Newspapers
TRENTON — Laying off teachers or cutting any salary positions is never easy, but Trenton Board of Education President Mike Hawkins said that Monday’s decision by the city council to lay off eight teachers was far less troubling than this time last year.
“This is the lowest number (of layoffs) that most people on the board can remember,” Hawkins said.
The board approved last week a motion to lay off eight teachers, only three of whom are general education instructors. Hawkins voted to approve the motion with the understanding that those same teachers will likely regain their jobs by September.
“A majority of the time we’re calling people back,” Hawkins said. Last year’s budget cuts included nearly 60 teaching positions along with general education bus service; many of those teachers returned to work for the 2011-12 school year.
Preparing the budget for the 2012-13 academic year, the board of education faced a projected deficit of $700,000. In April the board approved limited school of choice to allow a maximum of 60 new students to offset declining enrollment.
The school of choice decision was unpopular with a number of parents, although Hawkins said it will likely result in the rehiring of laid-off teachers.
“When the budget was looked at it didn’t have the school of choice students,” Hawkins said.
(James Mitchell can be reached at [email protected])