Rhode Island District Fires All 74 of Its High School Teachers

The Central Falls High School teachers will all be let go

ByABC News
February 17, 2010, 3:27 PM

Feb. 23, 2010 — -- All 74 teachers at Rhode Island's failing Central Falls Senior High School will be fired, the school district's Board of Trustees decided tonight.

The vote came after weeks of debate on how school Superintendent Frances Gallo believed the school, one of the poorest performing in the state, could be improved.

Gallo announced earlier this month that she would have no choice but to propose firing all the teachers after the Central Falls Teachers Union refused to accept her improvement plan.

The plan called for longer school days and after-school tutoring by the teachers, among other things.

The plan was spurred by Rhode Island Education Commissioner Deborah Gist's mandate last month that the high school, as well as six other schools in the state, revamp their institutions.

Central Falls high school has about 800 students, but only about 48 percent of them graduate in four years, according to state statistics.

A state survey found that 96 percent of its students are eligible for free or reduced-cost lunches. Sixty-five percent of the students are Hispanic, 13 percent are white and 14 percent are black, according to the state survey. Twenty-five percent of students receive English as a second language instruction.

Gallo had a choice among four federally guided models to propose for the Central Falls. Her first choice, and the one the teachers rejected, was the "transformation plan," which included such changes as lengthening the school day by 25 minutes, as well as required training for faculty members during the summer.