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Published March 29, 2010, 05:33 PM

Crookston School District Facing Staff Layoffs

As students in Crookston head to class, the district's superintendent has more than books on his mind. He's facing the task of making up for 1.5 million dollars in budget cuts from the state while keeping education paramount.

As students in Crookston head to class, the district's superintendent has more than books on his mind. He's facing the task of making up for 1.5 million dollars in budget cuts from the state while keeping education paramount. They avoided it last year but it looks like layoffs are coming.

Wayne Gilman: "We're talking about 14 it might be closer to 10, it's hard to say then probably a similar number 10-15 of certified staff could be affected as well."

Gilman says he's been open with staff about this and had community discussions about the cuts. Teachers say they know it's coming.

David Davidson: "I think it's tragic and almost every probationary teacher is a risk so are lots of tenured teachers. If we have less than 10-years in the district you have to be concerned."

In addition to staff cuts the district could add more cuts in the classroom. Some grade levels could see class sections drop from four to three. That will mean class sizes could change from the roughly 20-22 students in a class now, to as many as 30 in a classroom."

The superintendent says this year was their tipping point. The budget cuts combined with a 50-percent drop in student enrollment since the late 1970s has led to the downsizing.

Wayne Gilman: "There's a lot of uncertainty right now they don't know what is going to happen, then with the fear of losing your job people are upset."

Gilman says inevitably it will mean more work for teachers, but the goal is to make sure the quality of education remains number one.

David Davidson: "It's going to affect the classes, we will work as hard as we can to ensure the right instruction but you can't make cuts like this without having some affect."

Gilman says the class and staff cuts will start to be implemented after July.

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