Some Teacher Layoffs Being Avoided

By Staff
July 3, 2009

Despite state budgetary cutbacks that have resulted in massive layoffs throughout school systems nationwide, some districts have managed to rehire teachers who were slated to lose their jobs.

The East Valley Tribune in Phoenix reports that 191 teachers were hired back out of the 270 who received layoff notices in the Gilbert Unified School Districts. In Apache Junction Unified School District, all 33 teachers who received notices were rehired; in the Queen Creek Unified School district, 20 out of 23 who were laid off were offered jobs; and in the Higley Unified School District, all but six of 48 teachers given notice were rehired.

Meanwhile, the teachers who were laid off were told they would be placed on a priority list for substitute teaching. Jeremy Jones, a social studies teacher, said although many teachers left the state to pursue jobs elsewhere, he plans to substitute and possibly return to school to be certified in special education.

"You have three years that you can get recalled," Jones said. "I figure next year there will be a lot of retirees so if I don't get hired back this year, I'll get a chance next year."

The announcement that teachers are being rehired comes just after Gov. Jan Brewer's veto of more than $274 million in reductions of state aid to school districts and charter schools. Brewer said that legislators cut too much from education. In the meantime, schools are guessing what their budgets will be for the coming year.

Similarly, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports that about a third of 396 Broward school teaching jobs slated to be cut will be saved. The good news is the result of 130 teachers who are not returning because they are taking leaves of absence or haven't renewed their certification.

While the news is good for teachers, some are frustrated at the way the issue was handled. "I would have rather the School Board not have said anything until all other avenues were exhausted," said Joyce Hill, a kindergarten teacher at Driftwood Elementary School in Hollywood. "They put the cart before the horse. There's this big scramble, let's raise as much havoc as we can, then turn around and say, 'Hey, by the way, we have a couple hundred jobs open.' What is the point of the emotional roller coaster?"

But Broward Schools Superintendant James Notter pointed out that the district needed time to inform the teachers while also allowing time to rehire some back.

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