With more than 100 displaced teachers still to place in jobs, the East Baton Rouge Parish school system is holding off on almost all new hires until mid-June, Personnel Director Millie Williams said Wednesday.
The glut of displaced teachers stems from deep budget cuts, the closure of three schools and reorganizations at other schools.
Williams said in March she had more then 200 displaced teachers for whom she was trying to find jobs.
With so many district employees looking for jobs, teachers from outside interested in jobs in Baton Rouge public schools will have to wait. The school system canceled this year’s teacher fair. In June 2010, more than 850 teachers filled Woodlawn High chasing just a trickle of openings. It was the highest attendance for a teacher fair in years.
“We didn’t want to have all these people come again and nobody has any jobs,” Williams said.
Instead, the school system is planning a smaller teacher fair on June 15 just for displaced teachers and teachers in the in-house Teach Baton Rouge alternative certification program.
After that fair, Williams said, her office will start allowing some school principals to begin hiring outside teachers for select positions — as long as the principals have shown that they have filled more than half of their openings with displaced teachers.
The only outside teachers hired for the 2011-12 school year, so far, have been for a handful of gifted and Montessori classes, she said.
Williams said her office has continued to recruit this year, though it limited recruiting trips to colleges of education within a 10-hour drive.
She said she still expects to have vacancies emerge over the summer as school system employees retire or find other jobs.
Chris Trahan, spokesman for the district, said it is unlikely that any of the 100 displaced teachers will be laid off.
Several non-instructional employees, 28 at last count, are going to receive pink slips in the mail beginning Friday, Williams said. The bulk, 22 of them, are school clerks, she said. Their jobs were eliminated as a result of budget cuts and changes in school staffing formulas approved by the School Board in April.
The layoff picture was considerably more pessimistic in mid-March when Superintendent John Dilworth announced that the school system would have to come up with $39 million in budget cuts for the 2011-12 fiscal year, which begins July 1.
As part of that, Dilworth successfully persuaded the School Board to agree to a system-wide reduction in force, or RIF. Letters went to more than 6,000 employees saying they might be laid off.
But Dilworth then pushed through a series of budget cuts, worth about $33 million, that largely steered clear of the classroom.
Also, the school system has received preliminary approval for federal school improvement grants for a handful of low-performing schools, Trahan said. A couple of the schools will have to replace at least half of their faculties, which is a condition of the grant, Trahan said.
Williams said teacher fairs for those schools are planned tentatively to be held June 8 and 9.