Providence teachers protest as city lays out timeline for termination plans

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Providence teachers gather later today to protest the dismissal of every teacher in the district.

When they rally in front of city hall this afternoon, the Providence teachers will be joined by a national leader in the labor movement: American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten. And this protest is just the beginning.

The union has already filed a complaint with state labor relations board arguing that the city has no right to fire teachers without just cause. Providence officials say they are trying to do everything they can in the face of a financial crisis and a struggling urban school system.

The Providence Teachers Union says it is prepared to fight the terminations all the way to the state supreme court.

Meanwhile, Providence has rolled out a timeline that calls for a list of recommended school closures by next Monday. In a released statement, the city says it will first release detailed information about Providence's finances on Thursday, saying it's crucial to understanding the impact finances are having on the schools.

Once the school board draws up its list of recommended closures, on March 14 it will start considering and vote on which teacher dismissal notices will be rescinded.

There will also be a series of hearings for public input. Providence Mayor Angel Taveras says he wants to work with school officials as quickly as possible to make clear decisions on cutting the school department's budget.

Do you have insight or expertise on this topic? Please email us, we'd like to hear from you.