Bayonne parents outraged by teacher layoffs

- Hundreds of outraged families came to an emergency Board of Education meeting in Bayonne, New Jersey, on Monday evening. They came to vent their frustrations and demand answers after learning that the school district intends to lay off nearly 300 teachers.

Last month the Bayonne Board of Education voted to lay off 261 non-tenured teachers because of a budget deficit.

"How can they teach our kids when they let go 261 teachers?" said parent Nala Ortiz. "The most frustrating thing is the lack of transparency."

Ortiz was among hundreds who attended the meeting to vent frustrations and ask questions. Many want answers about what happened to the money that was supposed to pay for the teachers.

The school board is facing a budget deficit of $6 million and a state audit is currently underway to try to figure out how the money was spent.

"We're not happy," PTA President Alicia Losonczy told the Board, who questioned why the budget deficit wasn't made public sooner. "We don't want to see something like this happen again."

At the meeting the board voted to approve a new budget that would raise Bayonne taxes by 5.62 percent to cover the cost of rehiring some of the teachers.

"We will continue to look for money, we will continue to fight with the state, we will continue to do everything we can," said Board president Joseph Broderick.

 The new budget will allow the district to begin rehiring up to two-thirds of the teachers laid off, starting with 88 of them.

But many parents said that doesn't go nearly far enough

"They need to do better," said Crystal Patten, the mother of a first grader.

Some parents are calling for an investigation into what they say is mishandling of school funds. They say someone needs to be held accountable.

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