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US Schools Brace Up for Teacher Layoffs as Pandemic Relief Funds Dry Up

US Schools Brace Up for Teacher Layoffs as Pandemic Relief Funds Dry Up
Source: Pinterest

US Schools Brace Up for Teacher Layoffs as Pandemic Relief Funds Dry Up

Source: Pinterest

Schools in the United States are ready to face budget shortages as federal pandemic relief funds expire. The inevitable budget shortage will occur by the end of September 2024.

This situation may lead to several staff and teacher layoffs. Enrollment is declining, and costs are rising. Many school districts have made their intentions known about the possible layoffs.

School Districts Make Plans to Layoff Teachers

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The school academic year is ending, and school districts are starting to feel the need to set their budgets for a new year. As they do this, they realize the need to lay off some of their academic staff.

This is due to the financial strain they will likely face after the school year ends in September. In addition, there is the economic issue many Americans are facing, which is the general problem of inflation.

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Superintendent of Micah Hills Speaks on Layoffs

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As schools plan for new sessions, some schools have started to open up about the tough decision of possible layoffs of some of their staff. In Missoula, Montana, the school district is inevitably facing its decision to cut off some of its staff.

The layoffs involve some teachers and important administrators like the special education and fine arts directors. The superintendent of Micah Hills speaks about the tough decision made by the school and how it has been almost a generation since they experienced such a situation.


School Districts in Arlington Texas Plan To Cut Off 275 Positions

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The situation affects schools across the United States. Arlington, Texas, is another school district facing similar challenges. The district needs to cut off about 275 positions that were previously funded by federal aid.

The affected positions include after-school care, tutoring, and mental health. The staff affected directly have been advised to look for alternatives and apply for other positions.

Hartford District Faces the Same Problem

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As reported by CNN, another school district affected is Hartford, Connecticut. About 30 teachers and 79 staff were told to look for jobs elsewhere.

The school superintendent, Leslie Torres-Rodriguez, speaks about the tough decisions. It was pointed out that this is due to the end of the federal emergency relief fund.

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No More Federal Aid

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The relief funds from the federal government came as a result of COVID-19. The federal government released a sum of $190 billion to support K-12 Schools and ensure the safe reopening of schools.

However, the pandemic has become a thing of the past, and the federal government no longer sees the need to keep funding. Schools now have to find a way to adapt to the change.


How Schools Used the Federal Funds at Initial Stages

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When the relief funds were distributed to districts, proper measures needed to be taken in all school areas to prevent the spread of the virus and ensure a safe learning environment.

At first, many schools reopened buildings by buying face masks, cleaning supplies, and upgrading HVAC systems. In 2021, the biggest funding was approved, and 20% was used to address learning loss.


Inability To Sustain Some Teachers and Staff

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When the federal government released federal funds to ensure the safety of learning environments, the school districts saw the need to employ more staff as part of their urgent needs.

As the funding ends, the schools are finding it difficult to sustain the positions where they employed the staff during the pandemic. Hence, they must cut them off and advise them to apply for another job.

Positive and Negative Impacts of Federal Funding

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CALDER noted the importance of the federal government’s funding, which created about 12,000 jobs in Washington only, including 5,000 teaching jobs.

However, a researcher, Dan Goldhaber, opined that if the extra funding from the government were not available, those people would not be hired. This explains that these jobs are temporary and can lead to dismissal at any time.

Massive Layoffs Across the Nation

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This situation has caused general concern as people worry about its implications. Some districts have added new roles, while most show a potential massive layoff.

Education analyst Chad Aldeman said that returning to pre-pandemic times can lead to about 384,000 layoffs nationwide.

Schools Serving Low-Income Families To Face More Financial Challenges

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The pandemic aid has a pattern to which it was distributed; the Title I funding enables schools that serve low-income families to receive more financial support from the federal government during the pandemic.

Now that it has ended, these schools tend to face more financial challenges, which could lead to budget cuts that have severe impacts on financial challenges.


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District Approach for Layoffs

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When considering layoffs, the use of seniority in deciding who to lay off might need to be reevaluated. The School district might also need to consider the teacher’s dedication and commitment.

Heather Pesky from the National Council on Teacher Quality speaks on considering teachers’ effectiveness rather than seniority. Pesky advises that districts consider teachers’ performance when approaching layoffs to ensure quality education.

Consideration for Critical Position

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To ensure quality education, critical positions such as mathematics, science, and special education should be considered. This is because these positions already lack shortages.

If these positions could be retained, it would help maintain quality education in this area. It will also help shape educational opportunities for students in years to come.

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