Source: Sherman Publications

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Layoffs coming?
Seven teachers cut for 2012-2013

by Trevor Keiser

May 02, 2012

As of today Lake Orion Community Schools are planning to lay off seven teachers next year.

The Lake Orion School Board unanimously approved the layoffs at the April 25 board meeting.

"The teacher contracts require we make our best guess about staffing by April 30 and we propose a layoff for any individuals we can't be certain we would be employing next year," said Larry Lobert, assistant superintendent of human resources.

The cuts include five teachers at the elementary level and two at the high school. Lobert said the five elementary layoffs are based upon uncertainty they have about enrollment numbers and the two at the high school are based on course selections by students.

"As we know more and go through the process, perhaps know more about retirements or enrollment numbers that might materialize throughout the spring and summer at the elementary level that some of these folks will be recalled," he said. "They've been notified. Their names are on the list and we've been pledging to work with them as most effectively as we can."

Trustee Connie Meech asked if the list had anything to do with budget or if it was strictly enrollment. Lobert said there were no program cuts on the list and it was a typical list they could have in any year, because they currently aren't certain about enrollment.

"Enrollment is expected to be flat," he said. "But I think we need to propose a conservative approach until we know all those numbers, to not over commit you in staffing."

Meech also asked if cuts were based upon the old teacher laws (seniority) or the new laws (performance). Lobert said they were based upon the current contract, which is seniority based. The current contract expires June 30 "After July 1 we switch gears. Any recall not completed by July 1 we can conceivably follow the requirements of the new law," he said. "There is also a caveat in that law that said you cannot make the changes in your procedures until the collective bargaining agreement is over."

Lobert told the LO Review modifications to Michigan Pubic Act 451 of 1976. Section 1249 states the recalling or letting go of teachers is based on performance reviews as opposed to seniority. However, seniority can play a factor as a "tie-breaker if everything else is equal."

"Who has the best evaluation ratings? Who brings most credentials to the table? A series of attendance and performance, you make the best judgment about who the best teacher is as opposed to who is the most senior, that's what the new law imposes on us now," Lobert said. "It's fair and explicable. It's well intentioned and we just have to make sure we're fair in our application."