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Layoffs loom in school district

Of 25.5 jobs eliminated through cuts, about four will get pink slips


Incoming Superintendent Ernie BrownLayoff notices went out today (Thursday) to four teachers employees in the Tigard-Tualatin School District.

As a portion of $2 million in budget reductions the district expects to make this fall, the majority of layoffs will likely be filled through retirements and resignations, incoming superintendent Ernie Brown told the School Board on May 20.

The equivalent of 25.5 full-time positions will be eliminated, with pink slips going out to five teachers and classified staff members.

Classified staff includes custodians, secretaries and other positions outside of the classroom that do not require special licensure.

It’s a similar situation to what the district did last year. In 2012, the district eliminated 30 positions, which it satisfied almost entirely through retirements and resignations.

That natural attrition is helpful, Brown said, but the district must replace some of the retiring employees in order to fill needed roles across the district.

In all, Brown said, the district plans to hire 13 people by this fall to make up for some of the positions, including teachers, administrators and principals at two of its schools.

“There are a significant number of retirements and resignations in the district,” Brown said. “That has helped us a great deal.”

Most of the hiring will be to replace teachers at the elementary school level, Brown said, which will see only a single layoff.

Keeping staff at the elementary school will keep class sizes there at the same level that they are at this year, Brown said.

The rest of the cuts will take place in the middle and high schools.

Brown said some hiring will also be done at the secondary level.

“Our priority is maintaining the elementary class size,” Brown said.

No administrators or managers will be laid off, Brown said.

That doesn’t mean the district office will see the same next year, Brown said.

Some classified staff members who work in the district office will be see their hours cut and some programs, such as the district’s Safe Schools Healthy Students program — a federally funded grant program — will see its funding dry up this year.

“That (grant) funded a lot of positions,” Brown said. “Some elements of the program will remain, but that will have an impact on the work we do and the people we serve at the district level.”

Brown said the district did not make a big issue out of the sunsetting of the grant-funded programs because the district had other funding challenges it had to tackle.

“We have not made a big talking point of letting people know about it, but we probably should,” he said.

After years of making deeper and deeper cuts, Board Chairwoman Maureen Wolf said the state needed to do a better job of funding schools if they want to provide a quality education to students.

“We are sitting here with this stupid proposed motion, and we’re on the edge,” she said. “I don’t feel that the Legislature has done their work. It’s unacceptable.”

Changes to the district’s budget could change depending on the final budget the Legislature approves later next month.

The School Board is set to vote on its proposed budget in June.




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