On Philly SD layoffs: an early indicator

Ask and ye shall receive: this information is for the reader who joined my live chat today to ask how many Philadelphia School District teachers had put in for retirement by April 15, the district's deadline for such things. 

According to union officials, 395 teachers had notified the district of their intent to retire or resign at the end of this school year.

The district, you might remember, announced last week that if the current budget picture does not change, it will need to lay off about 1,260 teachers - or 12 percent of the current teaching force. 

Still uncertain is the number of teachers who will take the district up on its early retirement incentive, or anyone who decided after April 15 that they're going to leave at the end of the year because they got a job somewhere else. 

Another chatter was curious about when the district needed to notify employees it planned to let go.  The answer, also from the union, is June 30. 

And remember, all of this could change if the budget picture worsens.  Some things that could make that happen: if the voucher bill becomes law, if a lawsuit currently in the courts throws open the door to more, unplanned charter school expansions, etc.  District officials said they are hoping fervently for someone to step forward with more funding, but few people believe that's a possibility. That would mean a big ax would fall on things like full-day kindergarten, virtually all transportation, etc.  Class sizes would rise, too - it's a grim list.

The first of a series of meetings on the district's 2011-12 budget is scheduled for tomorrow night - Tuesday, May 3 - at Meredith Elementary, 725 S. 5th Street.  6 to 8 p.m.  Should be a live one.