Editorial: Teacher Layoffs

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CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - Cleveland Schools CEO Eugene Sanders is playing a high-stakes game of chicken with the teachers' union by threatening to lay off 545 teachers this June unless the union makes some concessions on wages and benefits. But the fact is, Sanders has little choice and the other fact is the teachers' union and its members need to wake up and join the league of responsible citizens.

Sanders needs to do something to erase the district's $53 million dollar deficit. Non-union staff has already agreed to a 4.6% pay cut and the teachers should do the same. The district is in terrible trouble, enrollment is declining, graduation rates are deplorable and there isn't enough money to keep paying teachers what the union demands they be paid.

The layoffs, if they come, would blow up the district's ambitious academic transformation plan and probably end the ten innovation schools the district has recently created. And worse, the layoffs would be based on seniority - that relic of old labor that almost guarantees that the best young teachers would go first. The ball is in the union's court. Let's all watch closely and see exactly how much they care about the success of Cleveland schools.