Lehigh Valley

Allentown School District to cut as many as 150 positions

Allentown teachers protest possible furloughs

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - Teachers in the Allentown School District are reeling from news of up to 150 possible layoffs. The union sent an email to teachers Thursday afternoon, and the proposal was discussed at an Allentown Education Committee meeting.

This is the third year in a row teaching jobs are on the chopping block in the Allentown School District. Nearly 400 positions have been cut over the last three years. Thursday we heard details on the latest plan.

"It will affect high schools, middle schools and elementary schools," explained Superintendent Dr. C. Russell Mayo.

Mayo says programs at every level are being looked at. Thursday we learned up to 150 teaching positions and about 11 administrative positions could be cut as part of an academic realignment.

"This is a worst case scenario," added Mayo. "It's a realignment of our programs so that we focus on our core mission."

He says urban education has become burdened with the social, academic and psychological needs of students, and the district needs to identity what it can do well and what someone else can do better.

The proposed changes touch nearly every aspect of the district's curriculum, from beefing up dual-enrollment programs, eliminating elementary music, art, library, and physical education programs, ending full day kindergarten, and requiring teachers to instruct additional periods.

"We're going to have to look at how we're going to partner with someone to help us cover those needs because we just can't afford the time or resources in personnel to be dedicated to that as much," explained Mayo.

Programs in this scenario on the chopping block will still be offered, just through community partners, not ASD staff. It was a standing room only crowd at the meeting, and the displeasure in the announcement was clear in their comments.

Nothing is set in stone yet. The proposal will be discussed in detail at next week's finance meeting, and again at the board meeting on March 21st.

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