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LETTER TO THE EDITOR | Time to change the standard
To the editor:
Since the most recent round of RIF notices went out to teachers in the South Whidbey School District, the community has spoken with an almost unanimous voice about one thing. Teachers should not be RIF’d based on seniority alone, with no consideration given to skill in the classroom.
The present contract that was signed two years ago determines which teachers are kept and which are let go in this recent round of RIFs.
The union proposed that standard, the district approved it, and, by acquiescence, parents accepted it.
However, parents should be aware that negotiations for the next contract between the district and the teacher’s union will begin shortly for the next two school years. Now is the time to call the district office and tell Dr. McCarthy and the school board to reject seniority as the single standard for determining who will be laid off when RIFs must be made.
If parents continue to remain silent while the standard for who is laid off is retained in the contract, then we have no right to complain if the best teachers are let go simply because they do not have as many years in the classroom as their peers who are retained.
If the teacher’s union wants to show that it supports keeping the most highly-qualified and skilled educators in our children’s classrooms, then it too will support a change to this aspect of their contract and work with the district to come up with a retention formula that takes into consideration teacher skill and merit, as well as years of service given, when layoffs must be made.