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Funding Cuts, Changing Needs Blamed for 41 JCPS Teacher Layoffs

Jefferson County Public Schools will lay off 41 teachers next school year, half of whom teach special education. 

JCPS officials say state budget and federal sequester cuts are partly the reason for the layoffs, but they also say fewer students are using special education services. The state required school districts to submit their layoff lists on May 15.JCPS' list included 20 Exceptional Child Education (special education) teachers, 11 English teachers, seven physical education teachers and one art teacher. Once schools submit their budget and staffing proposals it becomes the district's job to decide how many employees it can expect to keep the following year, says Tiffeny Gerstner, JCPS human resources director for recruitment and development. “We audit and research across the board in certain certification areas where we are with overstaffs versus vacancies and if it’s determined we have a surplus of teachers, we go to seniority dates," she says.Because layoffs are based on seniority—teachers with the least experienced get cut first—some schools such as Iroquois High School had as many as three teachers on the list, while other schools had none. But schools that have had teachers let go may still recoup teachers for those positions depending on schools need, Gerstner says. The district also submitted a list—which officials say changes daily—of 114 teachers who will be overstaffed, meaning they won't be working at the school they're currently at, but will find work at another school, Gerstner says.In some cases, they may not know where until later this summer, she says.“By the start of the school year, every teacher on the overstaff list will be placed in a position. Those teachers have positions in the district they might just not know where yet," Gerstner says.The following information regarding teacher layoffs was provided by JCPS: 2013 – 41 certified teacher layoffs 2012 – 0 certified teacher layoffs 2011 – 16 certified teacher layoffs, all were recalled 2010 – 0 certified teacher layoffs 2009 – 0 certified teacher layoffs 2008 – 1 technical teacher layoff