UPDATE, 6:35 P.M.: DCPS says this is a false alarm. The recruiter, says spokesperson Jennifer Calloway, was incorrect to say that the system “will resume the selection process next week.”

Rather, the intent was to keep its recruitment database up to date in order to “address normal resignations and retirements.”

The school system, Calloway says, “will absolutely consider” the pool of teachers let go earlier this month. The list is maintained “in case a vacancy arises in a subject area or specialty in which no teacher was RIF’ed….We do not want to be in a position where human resources is forced to scramble in order to make a potentially critical hire.”

ORIGINAL POST: On Oct. 2, 229 teachers employed by the D.C. Public Schools were laid off, along with 159 more support staff. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee claimed that budget cuts made by the D.C. Council forced the system to shed the staffers.

And yet, yesterday afternoon, a DCPS recruiter sent a message to candidates for teaching jobs in the system, telling them: “If you are still interested in teaching for DCPS during the 2009-2010 school year, please let me know. We will resume the selection process next week.” The e-mail contains a link to a Web page where recruits can indicate their intentions.

LL asked DCPS for an explanation of the e-mail earlier today and is awaiting a response. The manner in which the layoffs had been done—-after hiring an unprecedented number of teachers earlier in the year—-raised sharp questions about the motives behind it all; was it done, many asked, as an end-around the teachers’ contract? This e-mail, if genuine, is certain to amplify those concerns.

The Washington Teachers’ Union has issued a statement calling the e-mail “yet another example of questionable management practices—or malevolence—on the part of DCPS.”

“Any effort to hire additional teachers while claiming a need to cut staff due to budget constraints raises serious questions,” says President George Parker. “What positions need to be filled? Why didn’t DCPS wait until these vacancies were filled before issuing layoff notices? Why didn’t DCPS assign certified teachers to these vacancies instead of terminating them?”

LL awaits answers to them. Full e-mail is here:

Date: Mon, Oct 19, 2009 at 4:37 PM
Subject: DCPS 2009-2010 Candidates

Dear Candidates, If you are still interested in teaching for DCPS during the 2009-2010 school year, please let me know. We will resume the selection process next week and will only contact you if you have indicated to me that you would like to remain in the pool of applicants. If you would like to only be considered for 2010-2011 vacancies, please withdraw your application and reapply in January. If you have already found a position with DCPS and we have sent you this email in error, please submit your school information. Your response is requested by Wednesday, October 21st. If you have any questions, please let me know. DO NOT RESPOND TO THIS EMAIL. Please click on the following link to complete the two minute survey: http://spreadsheets.google.com/viewform?formkey=dEF0Vm5hdTRpUjhOTzNiR2VHbldXN3c6MA
Thanks, Morgan Gieseke TeachDC, Recruitment and Selection