Sixty teachers may be laid off

While the School Department has escaped the massive cuts from the state that have been lain upon city government, Superintendent Paul Dakin said the schools’ complicated funding formula still leaves them over $5 million short, despite a promise of level-funding from the state.

Dakin said he would need $5.2 million from the proposed federal Stimulus Package, which in its current form would distribute funds directly to school departments nationwide. If that gap isn’t closed by those funds, Dakin said he would have to lay off 77 employees next year.

“The vast majority will be teachers,” he said. “Out of the 77, probably 60 will be teachers.”

That $5.2 million funding gap in Revere is the largest such gap in the state, if looked on proportionately.

However, he said the schools are doing much better than some surrounding districts, such as Lynn, because the city has always given the schools the bare minimum required by law.

Mayor Tom Ambrosino said the city has always given the bare minimum because of the School Building Project, a deal that was struck at the outset of that program.

In any case, Dakin said communities like Lynn, which give over and above the minimum, are now taking that extra away from their schools, leaving a much greater shortfall and a need to lay off far more teachers. In Revere, though, the city still has to give the minimum, so nothing can be taken back.

“In a sick and twisted way, it’s good we don’t have extra from the city because if we did, they’d be taking it away now,” he said.

If the schools do get Stimulus Package money – which is a big if – then there will be no need for layoffs, but there will still be a need for belt tightening, said Dakin.

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