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Planned retirements eliminate need for D-427 layoffs

Published: Monday, March 10, 2014 11:36 p.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, March 10, 2014 11:46 p.m. CDT

SYCAMORE – Although several personnel items are on the agenda for today’s Sycamore Board of Education meeting, reduction in staff isn’t one of them.

Sycamore School District 427 Superintendent Kathy Countryman said this is the first year the district has no need to reduce staff. Typically, this is the time of year when reductions in force are made based on enrollment projections. The early notice allows teachers to seek new employment for the next school year.

“Right now, based on enrollment, as well as the number of staff we have retiring, we have no need to reduce certified staff,” Countryman said.

She said 18 teachers have announced retirement plans.

“We’re excited for them, but sorry to lose their experience,” Countryman said.

The district already has begun advertising to fill positions being vacated by retiring teachers.

“Whenever you have to make those decisions, we look at them on paper, but in reality it’s a person you are impacting,” she said. “It’s a hard decision to make and a hard action to take.”

The board laid off seven teachers in 2013 and one full-time and five part-time teachers in 2012. Countryman said district officials are expecting a slight uptick in enrollment for the 2014-15 school year. She said numbers will be available after kindergarten screening later this month.

Personnel items on the agenda include rehiring part-time, nontenured certified personnel; rehiring of first-, second- and third-year nontenured teachers; and granting tenure to teachers.

Countryman said she couldn’t comment on the number of teachers who will be tenured until after the board votes today.

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