Trenton schools postpones vote on outsourcing home instruction after union bashes proposal

Source: David Foster, The Trentonian, November 16, 2015

The thought of outsourcing another function of Trenton public schools has union leaders again up in arms. At Monday’s school board meeting, the body was set to vote on awarding a $500,000 home instruction services contract to Inspire Educational Group, Inc. But the board ultimately decided against taking up the measure after hearing concerns from the teachers union, Trenton Education Association (TEA). … Home instruction is currently provided to students by the district’s teachers, Johnson-Lafleur said. Generally, 30 to 40 teachers will earn extra pay as compensation for the home instruction, the union president said. … Privatizing and outsourcing is always a strongly contested issue in Trenton. Faced with massive layoffs due to a $17-million budget shortfall, the district decided to outsource one-on-one paraprofessionals for the current school year. At the time, Mayor Eric Jackson opposed the move.

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Trenton schools to eliminate 226 positions, privatize one-on-ones
Source: David Foster, The Trentonian, March 19, 2015

Like picking between a bad and worse situation, the capital city’s school district has decided how to close a $17.3-million budget gap. At the district’s offices on Thursday, Superintendent Francisco Duran outlined that 226 positions will be eliminated, one-on-one paraprofessionals will be privatized and Monument Elementary School will be closed…. Though positions are being eliminated, Duran said the district would not know the final layoff numbers until May 6 due to attrition through retirements and resignations. At that date, a reappointment list will be produced, the superintendent said. Custodians cut by nearly 1/3 Bearing the brunt of the position eliminations are the custodians. Out of the current 114 positions, 33 will be eliminated. The district had considered privatizing all of the schools’ cleaners, but the custodial union presented a plan, Duran said…. One-on-one paraprofessionals privatized Two years ago, one-on-one paraprofessionals were privatized. This year, the staff members assigned to work with students suffering from behavioral and health issues, were hired back by the district…. “We have a shortfall because of charter schools,” Howard said, noting the district’s payment to charter schools increased $16 million from 2013-14 to 2015-16. “We can control what we can control, and we do a very good job, but now we have to figure out how we can keep more students in district. That’s our No. 1 goal.”…