Parents, Teachers Angry Over CMSD Staff Layoffs

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CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The decision by the Cleveland Municipal School District to respond to a $66-million budget deficit, by laying off 508 teachers, is being criticized by teachers and parents.

Justin Hons, 32, is being laid-off from his job as a social studies teacher at John Hay High School, and it’s his fourth lay-off notice in 11 years.

Hons told Fox 8, "I'm concerned with all the laid-off teachers' ability to provide for themselves and their families, but I'm also upset about what this is going to do to our schools and our children, when it creates more instability, when it creates a classroom environment with less teachers, which means more kids in an individual class."

The cost cutting plan could also be a hardship for many families, because the school day at elementary schools will be reduced by 50 minutes, by cutting art, music and library/media classes.

"Finding the proper day care and things of that nature," said parent Camilya Williams. “So especially for a single parent, who don't have that proper help system, what are they going to do?"

School district officials say while the cuts are painful, they have honored a request by Cleveland parents that they not close schools, increase class sizes, and cut entire programs, like athletics and other extra-curricular activities.

Critics worry that the cutbacks will weaken the schools and continue a downward spiral.

"It means less education; it means less individual attention," said Hons. “It means more of a kid trying to survive, rather than being to get the attention that they need by their teacher."

Camilya Williams added, "I always was told, ‘Idle time is the devil's workshop.' What are these kids going to do? They are going to be in more trouble, more fights."

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