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More layoffs for South Bend teachers

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Over 50 teachers and specialists with the South Bend Community School Corporation will be laid-off in another round of cuts related to ongoing budget issues.

The school board voted to approve Superintendent Dr. Carole Schmidt’s recommendation to make a new round of layoffs at their meeting on Wednesday night.  However, some board members objected to the late notice of the new cuts and why they were necessary after the board had already approved a round of layoffs months ago.

"I wanted to ask Dr. Schmidt to explain why we're seeing these larger numbers in a whole different category of employees who are being affected that were not anticipated when we were having our budgeting discussion as a board," stated board member Jay Caponigro.

Caponigro said he was concerned about making more layoffs, especially when many of new jobs being cut include specialists who provide a bridge between teachers and parents.  He said he was also worried more reductions would impede the progress South Bend schools had made in improving test scores, a concern that was shared by at least one other board member.

"We had a hard enough time doing budget cuts in the general fund,” explained board member Bill Sniadecki.  “Now this is thrown upon us and like always we're taking it one step forward and two steps backwards."

Superintendent Schmidt explained that making additional layoffs was a difficult choice, but claimed new state laws had tied the corporation’s hands.  She blamed the cuts on the state government’s decision to waive Indiana from the No Child Left Behind Act and write a new set of rules and that the South Bend School Corporation didn’t know how the new rules would affect it until recently.

"It's not going to impact the quality,” Dr. Schmidt explained.  “It's going to impact the number of services, the kinds of services to kids and our families."

The recent layoffs may not be permanent; depending on how South Bend schools do when the state releases its grades for school performance some of the jobs may be restored.

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