|School Dist#1 board meeting|
The Yuma Elementary School District #1 voted to cut 28 teaching positions during Wednesday (4-8-09) night's board meeting. Video by Stephanie Wilken and Janet Chasse
|Explaining YUHSD RIFs|
Toni Badone, superindendent for Yuma Union High School District, explains how and why the reduction in force (RIF) recommendation was reached. Video by Janet Chasse
|YUHSD board meeting|
Members of the Yuma Union High School District board voted to cut positions during their Wednesday night meeting. The district is unsure of funding for next year as a state budget has not yet been approved. (4-8-09) Video by Janet Chasse
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99 YUHSD positions not renewed
Facing an April 15 deadline, the Yuma Union High School District Governing Board voted unanimously 5-0 to send out notification of discontinuance of employment for 99 positions for the 2009-10 school year.
Among those not returning are 60 emergency-certified teachers, of whom 10 resigned, 25 noncontinuing teachers, 13 reduction in force teachers (RIFs) and one director of procurement, also a RIF.
Emergency-certified teachers are those with a degree in an area other than education and get a one-year certification. They are allowed to take education credits up to three years, the most they can remain on emergency-certificate status, said Toni Badone, YUHSD superintendent.
Noncontinuing teachers are ones not highly qualified in core areas of math, English, science, social studies and special education, yet many are just waiting the results of their Arizona Education Proficiency Assessment (AEPA) to become highly qualified.
"A lot of them are just waiting to hear test results or complete course work, but until they get their certificate there's nothing we can do," Badone said.
She also noted the state discontinued the emergency certification for the next year because a federal audit found the teachers were not highly qualified.
Teachers must be highly qualified in the specific subject area in which they instruct in the classroom and they reach that level by passing the AEPA exam and completing the minimum requirement of student teaching, one semester in a university or two years in a high school, she said.
"To have the right certification you have to have math teachers teaching math or a science teacher teaching a specific science. You can't have business teachers teaching English," Badone said.
The RIFs include counselors, physical education, art and business teachers. Despite their layoffs, these teachers are eligible for recall up to three years' time before any new hires are made.
"We made the best decision we can without a state budget and meeting the timeline," Badone said. "We're at the mercy of the state budget. We need to to put a face on this issue and show the state Legislature what it looks like. We need to get everyone to write the state legislature."
Board member Charlene Fernandez said it is a very hard economic time for the district and that they have good people being affected as well as the students, but they had to make a difficult decision.
Sally Doyle, who participated by teleconference, said it was not the administration's or the board's fault, but it is up to the elected representatives. She added that she feared because of this action, student achievement could go backward and students will lose.
Philip Townsend, board president, noted the measure was not a reflection on the teachers' abilities, but a reflection on the budget.
"I'm sure these teachers are wonderful at their jobs," Townsend said. "But we have to balance the budget. There is always a glimmer of hope we may ask some of these people back. But we're required by law to make this decision before April 15."