Bayonne High School students stage walkout after nearly 300 employees laid off

The Bayonne Board of Education has voted to lay off nearly 300 district employees. The Bayonne Board of Education has voted to lay off nearly 300 district employees.
BAYONNE -

Hundreds of Bayonne High School students staged a walkout Thursday morning to protest the Board of Education’s decision to lay off nearly 300 district employees.

The board passed resolutions Wednesday evening that resulted in the layoffs of 261 non-tenured teachers, 15 secretaries, eight engineers, two bus drivers and other positions. District officials said the decision was part of an ongoing effort to deal with the city’s budget crisis.

Some students told News 12 New Jersey that they originally planned to have a sit-in, but walked out after the Bayonne high school principal threatened them with suspensions. They marched to City Hall instead to make their voices heard.

“A lot of teachers that I love and worry about were laid off,” said freshman Elizabeth Estrada.

Bayonne Mayor James Davis placed a lot of the blame on the school board. He says that the Board of Education and school administrators do not communicate.

“You raise money through me raising taxes to give you the money,” he said. “So from here on in, you’re going to tell me what’s going on.”

Board of Education President Joe Broderick told News 12 New Jersey that he isn’t sure how big the district’s shortfall is, but estimates that it is about $9 million.

He said that he believes that about two-thirds of the jobs will be spared as the budget is sorted out.

“[We] have every intention of bringing back the majority of those people…no one feels worse than the board itself,” Broderick said in a statement.

During the walkout, several Bayonne residents reported that their cars were damaged by some students. No arrests were made during the protest. The Bayonne police are investigating the claims.

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