The First Cut Might Be Deeper, But It Isn't Necessarily All That Deep


Even the Castro brothers are cutting public-sector jobs like nobody's business:

 At least 500,000 workers will lose their state jobs in the next six months. That means just under five percent of Cuba's total population and 10 percent of the work force will be out a of a job, but the government plans to grow the private sector to replace the jobs.

Raul Castro promised to cut 1 million jobs over the next five years in August, but surprisingly sped up the process by announcing that more than half of those jobs will be axed in the next six months.

"Our state cannot and should not continue maintaining companies, productive entities and services with inflated payrolls and losses that damage our economy and result counterproductive, create bad habits and distort workers' conduct," the CTC, Cuba's official labor union, said to the government press.

Keep that in mind while considering the actions of the Toledo public school system:

About two dozen more teachers will be laid off in one of Ohio's largest cities because of declining public school enrollment. Toledo Public Schools Superintendent Jerome Pecko tells The Blade that the exact number of cuts will be determined this week and then notices will go to teachers and a few classroom aides. He says the district does not want to exceed a ratio of 25 students per teacher.

Officials say enrollment is down 5.4 percent from this time last year.

Pecko calls the layoffs "a business decision that has to be made.

"The new cuts would be in addition to 400 teaching and other positions already eliminated as part of the school district's efforts to fend off a $39 million deficit for the current school year.

I've scouted around news accounts and TPS documents online to try and get a good ballpark figure of the total number of teachers and overall district employees, but that's proven difficult. The district cops to 4,800 employees here, but doesn't break them down in any meaningful way (and is overselling the number of students by about 6,000; they claim 30,000 on the system's site, but this Toledo Blade story pegs the current figure closer to 24,000).

So we're left with some crappy numbers, for sure, but let's do some math. Enrollment's down 5.4 percent; . Assuming the 400 positions that were cut come out of the 4,800 figure, that comes to 8.3 percent in worker cuts.

Which is good (considering the decline in students), but still behind Raul Castro. Which is bad.

U.S. unemployment is still around 9.6 percent, with little prospects for significant change. In the time-honored tradition of doomed bureaucracies everywhere, the TPS system is pushing for a tax increase in the fall.

Check out Reason.tv's "A Teacher Strike in Paradise" for an in-depth look at what happens when school budgets need to be cut: