Rhode Island's Education Commissioner Deborah Gist dispatched a memo to school district chiefs throughout her state warning that budget-related layoffs based solely on teacher seniority violates state law. She said the new edict best serves students.
Her memo comes in the wake of a state Providence school-board vote to send layoff notices to all of the district's 1,926 teachers.
Under the Ocean State's laws, there is a requirement that layoffs of teachers due to a drop in student enrollment must be done according to seniority.
But Gist insists the law "does not provide the same for reductions in the teaching force because of budgetary constraints or program reorganizations."