Collective Bargaining + Tenure = More Teacher Layoffs In Normandy
The Normandy School District is in a tough place financially. The inter-district transfer program is taking its toll and the district may spend as much as 30 percent of its budget on student transfers. To make up for the loss of revenue, the district is looking to make cuts to reduce expenditures. Normandy will lay off 103 employees: 71 teachers, 27 support staff, and five building administrators. These cuts, along with the closing of Bel-Nor Elementary and other changes, are projected to save the district more than $3 million.
There is no doubt that the Normandy School District needed to cut some teachers. However, the number of teachers laid off in Normandy will be higher because of state tenure laws and the district’s collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with the Normandy National Education Association. Both state statutes (RSMo 168.124) and the CBA dictate that new teachers must be laid off before tenured teachers.
When districts engage in these seniority-based layoff policies, instead of a policy based on the effectiveness of the teacher, they ultimately lay off more teachers. A new teacher makes less money than an experienced teacher, although they may or may not be more effective.
The average teacher salary in Normandy last year was just more than $60,000, but a non-tenured teacher with four years of experience earns little more than $40,000. That means the district would have to lay off 1.5 non-tenured teachers to equal the salary of one of the district’s average teachers.
Let’s put this into perspective. The district is laying off 71 teachers. If the laid off teachers represented the average teacher, the district would save nearly $4.3 million in annual salaries. If they laid off all novice teachers with four years of experience, they would cut less than $2.9 million in annual salaries — a difference of more than $1.4 million.
The “last in, first out” policies enshrined in state law and in the district’s CBA will undoubtedly lead to larger class sizes than having a policy based on merit.