Barrington schools send out annual layoff notices
Bracing for a smaller budget next year, Barrington Area Unit District 220 has given notice to 43 teachers and 75 support staff members, many in tech support, that they may not be rehired in the fall.
School districts are required by law each spring to inform employees who may not be brought back, giving them time to look for other jobs. Many districts hire most of those employees back in the fall.
However, the District 220 school board is anticipating less revenue next year and has said the budget may have to be reduced by $2.6 million in the worst case.
"These types of decisions are not taken lightly," Superintendent Brian Harris said this week. "They are very difficult. However, when we look at our budget there is no way to reduce $2.6 million without affecting people."
District spokeswoman Morgan Delack said the tech department will be downsized by the equivalent of 10.5 full-time workers next fall because of the budget cuts. The tech department employs 37 support staff members, and 26 of them are on this year's honorable dismissal list.
Delack said the department will be restructured to function with the equivalent of 26.5 full-time workers. Under the restructuring, some of the tech positions will become more specialized, meaning some of the employees given their notices this week may not have the tech skills necessary to get their old job back.
Barrington School Employees Organization leaders did not immediately return calls Friday.
Two years ago, 57 teachers and 17 classified staff members were given notice, but the following fall 67 percent of the teachers and 76 percent of the classified staff members were rehired. Classified staff members are workers like bus drivers, secretaries, and instructional assistants.
In 2015, the rehire rates were even higher. About 73 percent of the 14 teachers and 100 percent of the 27 classified staff members who got honorable dismissals were back in the fall.
Delack said some of the nontenured teachers and other staff members find other work over the summer before District 220 hires them back.
The district has nearly 9,000 students from prekindergarten through high school and covers a 72-square-mile area. The largest expense in the 2015-2016 budget is for salaries and employee benefits, which come to nearly $103 million, or about 76.5 percent of the total.
Barrington officials, and other school districts, anticipate revenue will be down next year in part because the consumer price index is expected to be at its lowest level since 2008. The state tax cap limits school district levy increases to 5 percent or the increase in the CPI, whichever is lower.