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ASD to hand out 220 pink slips on Wednesday

By Shannon Ballard 4:35 PM May 22, 2017

It’s the final countdown for Anchorage students, as there are just two days left until summer break. But, this year, it’s not just graduates who won’t be returning to their old classrooms this fall.

More than 200 pink slips are all set to go out on Wednesday. This comes after five were already given to five tenured teachers earlier this month.

With state funding up in the air, the Anchorage School District is preparing to layoff teachers.

The school board president says nothing can be done now.

The district is required to let teachers know if they have a job by the end of the school year.

ASD’s human resource department says the layoffs are the result of uncertainty is Juneau.

The House is proposing flat funding for public schools, while the state is calling for a 5.7 percent cut.

That means ASD’s budget gap could be anywhere from $15 million to $42 million.

Human Resource Chief Todd Hess says his department has been working long hours to identify who will lose their jobs.

He says it will mostly be first-year positions, as well as some second-year teachers.

“We’re talking about elementary teachers, secondary teachers, counselors, librarians– it’s all across the board,” Hess said.

Depending on what happens to the state budget, ASD plans to hire back as many of the lost positions as possible.

“In the end, we don’t anticipate that 220 people will be out of work. We plan on issuing recall notices as soon as our funding picture has additional clarity once the legislature concludes their business,” Hess said.

Hess says two-thirds of the teachers ASD hires ever year come from out of state, and that cuts like this have a long-term, negative impact on recruitment and retention.

“If you take a look at people that we’ve convinced to move 3,500 miles from home and re-establish themselves in this community and they are here for nine months and then we hand them a layoff notice, our prior experience is that a number of those folks will decide that Anchorage doesn’t provide the sense of continuity in terms of employment that they were looking for,” Hess said.

The pink slips will be hand delivered by school administrators on Wednesday. Hess says those affected will also be directed to the state’s unemployment office.

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