Dist. 11 school board approves staffing reductions

The Anoka-Hennepin School Board approved the reduction of the equivalent of 108 full-time positions at its latest school board meeting.

The board also adopted a resolution March 24 terminating 251 probationary teachers’ contracts at the end of the school year.

There was no discussion on either item.

Last year, the district approved the elimination of 68 FTEs and the termination of 215 probationary teachers’ contracts.

Four factors drive the need for how many teaching positions Anoka-Hennepin maintains, according to Sarah Kriewall, employee services director for the district: budget, enrollment, student need and registration.

In January, Chief Financial Officer Michelle Vargas reported plans to cut 30 FTEs, many teacher on special assignment and teaching and learning specialist positions, to help cover a $7.5 million deficit expected in 2014-2015. An additional 18 FTEs would likely be cut with declining enrollment, she said at the time.

The district estimates that 201 fewer students will attend schools in the district in 2014-2015 than did this year.

Most of those losses are at the high school level.

Of the 108 positions slated to be discontinued, 53 are special assignment roles. Of those 53, seven are teaching and learning specialist positions.

Other major reductions are special education positions, with 11 FTEs scheduled to be eliminated; English as a second language positions, 10.75 FTEs; math positions, 9.4 FTEs; and first- through sixth-grade positions, 6.68.

Annually, the number of certain positions, including special education and ESL roles, depends on student need, Kriewall said.

Registration also drives the elimination of certain positions. At the high school level, if there isn’t enough interest in a particular subject area, positions are often reduced in that department.

Registration doesn’t touch elementary school positions in the same way. “In elementary school, everyone pretty much takes the same thing,” Kriewall said.

As budget considerations, enrollment levels, student need and course registration continue to change before the start of the 2014-2015 school year, positions may be added back, according to Kriewall.

Likewise, some probationary teachers – defined by Minnesota statute as teachers with less than three consecutive years in a single Minnesota school district or teachers in their first year in a new district – whose contracts won’t be renewed, may be hired back.

Olivia Koester is at [email protected]