The York City School District notified 50 teachers Thursday they would be laid off at the end of the school year, according to the superintendent.
Superintendent Deborah Wortham said the administration is looking for more efficient ways to run the district. It has lost about 2,000 students in recent years, cutting back the need for maintaining the district's staff size, and also is facing a $19 million deficit next school year after major cuts in state funding.
Many of the teachers affected were among those initially laid off this year. They had returned from being furloughed, only to suffer the same fate again, said teachers' union president Kim Schwarz. The layoffs take effect July 1.
The layoff announcement came two days after the York City Education Association's decision to not accept many of the cost-saving wage and benefits concessions the district requested. Wortham said the layoffs are not directly related to that vote because the school board had already approved the furloughs.
Teachers already accepted a wage freeze this year, when 100-plus teachers were laid off.
Schwarz said the layoffs, which are spread across all grades, are a direct result of state budget cuts that have left the district decimated. Cuts by Gov. Tom Corbett to grants, charter school tuition reimbursement and other education funding left York City with no choice, Schwarz said.
And the 50 layoffs are only round one, she said. Another round of an untold number of teachers will happen within a few weeks, she said.
Wortham said she understands the teachers' position and the district and union have been working side-by-side on finding cost savings, with union leadership constantly at the administration building to talk about options. Schwarz said teachers knew furloughs were a possibility.
"Nothing is easy at this point," she said of the teachers' situation, which only looks to get worse. "It just doesn't look good."
Wortham said she estimates there would be about 350 teachers left after the furloughs, and no decision has been made how many more teachers could be furloughed in round two.
But she also emphasized that the district's planned move to a K-8 model instead of having separate elementary and middle schools will reduce the need for staff.
Other cost savings that wouldn't directly affectstudents, such as moving to a four-day summer work week and administrator wage freezes, are being considered as well.
"Our conversation continues to be what's good for kids," Wortham said.
- Reach Andrew Shaw at 505-5431 or email@example.com, or on Twitter @ydblogwork