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Layoff notices expected by next week for SFSD staff

By Stephen Floyd

Staff at the Silver Falls School District (SFSD) are expected to receive notice of their job prospects within the next week-and-a-half, according to Interim Superintendent Joe Morelock.

During an ongoing meeting tonight of the SFSD Board, Morelock said he hopes within the next 10 days to notify staff whose positions are being eliminated as part of steep budget reductions for the next school year.

Morelcok said he is meeting tomorrow with the district’s two unions, the Silver Falls Education Association (SFEA) and the Oregon School Employees Association, to go over details and talk processes.

This comes as projected layoffs increased since an initial report last week.

Morelcok said he met with principals Friday to discuss cuts and determined the district could part with 18% of teachers and 16.5% of classified staff for a total savings of $7 million. This was up from 12.5% of teachers and 15% of classified staff in initial projections Morelock shared Thursday.

He said tonight that layoffs are “not an easy or a fun process” and that it is important to work with staff to create a game plan because “there are worse ways to do it.”

Morelock also said the suggested budget cuts in tonight’s report amounted to roughly $8.8 million, the district’s target for reductions.

SFEA representatives spoke to the board tonight and urged them to take action so teachers can know whose jobs are secure for next year. They said teachers already took a big hit this year with seven furlough days that amounted to $1.2 million in reduced wages, and that additional furloughs next year would be an undue strain.

“Our Silver Falls staff are the ones shouldering the burden as you sit here with your apologies,” SFEA President Lori Wyer told the board. “You need to take action for the disaster that happened under your watch.”

The SFEA executive team shared examples of expenses teachers had to cut from their household budgets as the result of the furloughs. Examples included being able to pay a term of college for a child, paying for utilities, mortgages and medical bills.

One additional factor in staffing reductions is the possibility of additional payouts for unemployment claims, which Interim Director of Finance Kim Doud told Out Town could be between $750,000 and $1 million. Doud said the actual numbers depend on many variables including the salary of a staff member who is let go, whether or not they apply for unemployment and how long it may take them to find another job.

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