Some members of D.C.'s teachers union protested a conference featuring former D.C. schools chancellor Michelle Rhee Monday. That same day, hundreds of teachers were notified that their positions would be eliminated by the end of the school year.
The school system sent notices to hundred of teachers this week saying their position would be "excessed" -- meaning it would no longer exist at the end of this academic year.
The excessing process is cause for concern among teachers and their union representatives, some of whom oppose the provision in the teacher's contract stating that excessed teachers are placed in new positions based on their evaluations, rather than seniority. The provision is part of the new contract negotiated by the union and former schools chancellor Michelle Rhee.
Jason Kamras, DCPS's chief of human capital, who oversees the process of excessing says the process is "normal," and that the majority of excessed employees are rehired by another school in the District.
"In fact, last year 79 percent of Washington Teachers Union members found placements at another DCPS school," he says.
Approximately 350 of the 750 excessed employees are teachers this year. Kamras didn't have information about the number of staff rehires, and also declined to provide a breakdown by school. Excessing usually happens because a school has a smaller budget or because it decides to change its programing, for example, by offering a different foreign language.
But WTU President Nathan Saunders says he's concerned this is a way to get rid of teachers without calling it a layoff. He says he wants to match the excessed teachers against their evaluations to see whether there's a correlation.
Kamras says he doesn't know what kind of evaluations these employees have received as the process hasn't been completed.