The Alexandria school administration was assailed by some recently laid-off teachers last night as arbitrary, mismanaged and unlawful.
The complaints came at a school board meeting from four of the 48 teachers who recently received RIF (reduction in force) notices.
The board has cut 28 teaching positions from next year's budget because of steadily declining enrollment, and school officials say the additional RIFs may be necessary because of federal program cuts and other factors, not yet clear. In past years the system has found itself able to rehire most or all of the teachers who received the notices.
Some complaints last night were aimed at the RIF procedure, which is not based totally on seniority but sometimes takes in other factors, including evaluations or willingness to coach or sponsor extracurricular activities.
"Their management practices produce chaos, poor morale and bad feelings," said Iburia Hall-Haynes, a RIFed teacher.
School Superintendent Robert W. Peebles, in reply, said layoffs were "tough, unpleasant but necessary . . . I know it's tough to get a RIF letter. I have compassion for those who receive them . . . this is not a perfect system . . . We are attempting to do it this year as fairly as possible and as humanely as possible."
In other business, the board reinstated school busing for the next school year for junior high students who live more than a mile from their school. The board had budgeted for busing next year only for those who lived more than 1 1/2 miles away, but reversed its decision when the state legislature unexpectedly provided more money.
The board also approved charging the Alexandria Dukes minor league baseball team $3.50 per square foot for additional space being provided the team at the Cora Kelly Elementary School. The bill will come to an estimated $2,333 per year.