"Uncertainty" is the word of the week; 363 Rockford School District employees have to go. By the end of the month, the newest members of the unemployment line will be a mixture of certified administrators, teachers, clerical workers and paraprofessionals.
Board member Jay Nellis says, “We're at the point where we have to take everything away but the bare bones."
This Tuesday the Human Resource Department will take a look at seniority and qualifications. Principals have been warning staff that anyone who does not have four full years in the district may get a reduction in force or RIF notice.
Chief Financial Officer Tom Hoffman says, “Very senior veteran teachers in grant positions will bump out someone with lower experience."
Bi-lingual and special education have seen a shortage in staff throughout the year. In those departments, cuts won't be as deep. Most of the staff eliminated will be paraprofessionals and certified teachers, fewer classrooms, but more students to account for. With such a high number of staff reductions class sizes could mean a maximum of 26 students in 1st through 3rd grades.
There will be 30 students in 4th and 5th at the elementary level. In middle school and high school 33 is the maximum class size but teachers could see 150 students daily. The district hopes to have a finalized RIF list by Friday and the board will approve the RIF list of names next Tuesday.
Friday's list will only have certified staff names. Those non-certified legally only need to receive a 30-day notice.