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BTA says calls to educators are "cold-hearted" - 12 News KBMT and K-JAC. News, Weather and Sports for SE Texas

BTA says calls to educators are "cold-hearted"

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The Beaumont Teachers Association has issued a statement concerning phone calls made to educators whose names are said to appear on the list of those who will be laid off, saying that the calls are "heavy-handed" and "cold-hearted."

Several teachers told 12News that Thursday night that they began getting calls from their principals telling them they are on the official reduction in force list.  The list will officially come out 5 p.m. Friday.

CLICK HERE to read a copy of the script that principals are read over the phone to the teachers being laid off:

Here is a copy of the statement issued Friday by the BTA:

BTA is outraged by BISD's heavy-handed, cold-hearted tactic of having administrators call employees at night and read from a prepared script attempting to pressure them into resigning before the BISD board has had a chance to vote on the fate of these specific individuals. This underhanded attempt at bullying dedicated educators into "voluntarily" reducing the number of layoffs for which the district will assume responsibility is deplorable. This is a tragic, life-changing moment for our district and the people who work here. To treat it as an exercise in high-pressure telemarketing is an insult to the affected employees and to the administrators ordered to carry out this bizarre task. Educators who still want to work for BISD, and who want to exhaust all of their options before losing their positions should not resign. Once you have resigned, your options become very limited, even if the resignation was obtained under this kind of pressure.

BISD employees who are RIFed will have the right to a hearing on whether law and policy were appropriately followed in selecting them for the RIF. Given this administration's track record we have no confidence that the policy and law will have been observed in each of these cases. We expect there to be numerous errors. We expect that many of those proposed for the RIF will request the hearing to which they are entitled. BTA will assist our eligible members in requesting and participating in those hearings.

The district bears the responsibility for notifying those who have been proposed for termination by a board vote in writing of that fact. A telephone call before a board vote or the publication of a proposed list does not constitute that notice. Employees have no obligation to assist with this district responsibility by going to campus to pick up a notice or letter. We recommend that our members insist that the district carry out its legal responsibility and provide for any notice to be delivered to them.

As with every step of this process, the administration is attempting to preempt the authority of the board. The board must vote on proposed RIFs of individuals, not just positions, and that vote has not taken place. Once again, as with budget amendments, affected areas for a RIF, and whole host of other decisions, the administration will come before the board with an action that they have already taken and ask the board for a rubber stamp. It is time for the BISD board to stand up, reclaim its authority, and say, "Enough is enough."

The BISD board of trustees will vote on the specific job cuts Monday.  Those laid off will actually be under proposed termination, which means they can appeal.
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