Feb 25, 2011 4:40 AM GMT
After a raucous discussion, the Providence School Board Thursday night voted 4-3 to send letters of termination to the 1,926 teachers in the city's school district.
More than 700 teachers jammed the high school gymnasium to tell school officials that their hearts were broken, their trust violated and their futures as teachers jeopardized.
"How do we feel? Disrespected," said Julie Letessa, a special needs teacher. "We are broken. How do you repair the damage you have down today?"
Every one of the district's teachers received a certified letter from the school department Thursday informing them that they might be terminated at the end of the school year. It also said that the School Board would vote on the proposed dismissals at Thursday's meeting, which was moved to the career and technical high school to accommodate the huge turnout.
In Wisconsin, the projected deficit for fiscal year 2012 is considerably higher than Rhode Island’s—$1.8 billion compared to $290 million, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. But when the deficit is viewed as a percent of their respective 2011 budgets, the two states are closer. In Wisconsin, the 2012 deficit equals 12.8 percent of what is being spent in the current year. In Rhode Island, the deficit is 9.9 percent.
When it comes to unfunded pension liabilities, however, Rhode Island is actually worse off than Wisconsin. The Badger State has an unfunded pension liability in the millions, while Rhode Island’s liability is in the billions—$252.6 million versus $4.3 billion, according to the Pew Center on the States. The center rates Wisconsin’s state pension system as a “solid performer” while Rhode Island is labeled as having “serious concerns.”