Saturday, 2:15 PM
Salem schools in turmoil as layoffs begin
By Erin Ailworth, Globe Staff
Twenty-nine teachers were laid off and five had their hours reduced today as the Salem schools tried to address a $4.7 million budget deficit. And more cuts are expected Monday.
School officials have been struggling to close the budget gap since it was first discovered late last year. Officials say it was caused, at least in part, by questionable bookkeeping by the district's former business manager.
Much of the gap already has been covered by the City Council, by renegotiation of contracts and other cost-saving measures, but a shortfall of about $1.2 million remains and is expected to be covered by cutting jobs.
The cuts are also expected to affect paraprofessionals, custodians, administrators, clerical staff and others. In all, more than 100 of the district's 750 jobs are to be affected.
"Youíre trying to pay your mortgage and you're trying to pay your rent and your car payment. Ö Itís devastating," said Joyce Harrington, president of the Salem Teachers Union.
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