School district lays off all nontenured teachers

Here’s a question for teachers: Why do you bother?

It’s hard to imagine a more morale-busting business, considering the way the workforce is managed from year to year, not to mention the near-daily letter to the editor in the local paper criticizing what you do.

But if you want any stability at all, teaching seems like a poor career choice.

Willmar provides today’s example.

The school board last night laid off all of the district’s nontenured teachers, according to the West Central Tribune.

How much discussion took place before 100 people lost their jobs? None, the paper says. Two of the school board members didn’t attend.

Many — perhaps most — will be hired back, according to the system’s human resources director. It depends on what the district’s needs are.

But it’s unclear how that’s going to happen. The district’s expenses are increasing — the Department of Education ordered them in reading and math, the two areas of standardized testing — and federal grant money is running out.

The board does this every year, indicating that laying off the entire nontenured group would create less tension than singling out nontenured individuals for layoff, reporter Linda Vanderwerf said.

Related: The Teacher Who Believes Math Equals Love (NPR).

Update 3/12 – From Mike Reynolds of the school board:

Just wanted to drop you a note and clarify a couple of things from your Willmar story. First I was one of the members not in attendance, I was stuck in Boston and my 5:45 am flight which would have allowed me plenty of time to get had me getting bumped and finally moved to a 1:50 flight.

The other member not in attendance was with his family due to his mother’s passing. There was in fact lots of conversation involving these cuts in previous meetings as well as other cuts were discussed. We choose to do this process than rather single out maybe 10 of these staff members that may not in fact be coming back.

In the past we had a Board Room full of one teachers supporters who was getting cut (she was rehired BTW) basically saying she should stay and saying another teacher should be the one cut.

The way we do it no probationary teacher is singled out and most are quickly offered a new contract and the ones not offered contracts no one will ever know unless the teacher decides to tell.

So I feel that it is much better to report that 100 teachers were laid off and most will be hired back than Joe, Sue, Jim, Sandy, Mark, and Michelle were non renewed. I’ve been on the Board for over 20 years and this by far is the least painful way to go about a difficult process.