Dallas district fires 375 teachers

Campus by campus,
hundreds of Dallas teachers learned their fate Thursday in whatever
manner their principals saw fit. Some retained a small measure of
dignity; others were forced to clean out their desks in front of
stunned students.

The layoffs
were expected at the end of the day but some teachers reported getting
the news as early as first period. At Pinkston High School, drafting
teacher Tom Warner, 45, was called out of class, fired, and sent back
to pack his belongings as students looked on.

“I was blindsided,” Mr. Warner said.

He was one of 375 Dallas teachers dismissed Thursday as part of a
massive layoff designed to help the school district avoid a projected
$84 million budget shortfall. Several hundred others, ranging from
clerks to assistant principals, have also been laid off in recent
weeks. Meanwhile, about 460 teachers were transferred to other schools
within the district.

The mid-year staff upheaval has been
a source of apprehension among teachers, students and parents for
weeks. Dallas school trustees voted last month to make the cuts. But
Thursday’s layoffs came a day after the original target date, adding to
the overall sense of chaos around the district.

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