Teacher cuts looming close

By: Alyssa Fenske Email
By: Alyssa Fenske Email

LA CROSSE (WEAU) - As the school year is nearing an end, the final decisions of which teachers will have a job next year are close at hand.

The La Crosse school district has a 3.1 million dollar deficit for the next school year. Most of it will have to come out of teacher’s health benefits, and by cutting personnel.

About 1.5 million will be coming out of the teacher’s health insurance benefits, but that still leaves the district 1.6 million in the hole.

The teachers know what’s coming. 6 were cut last year, and they expect double this year.

“This year we believe we’ll be losing 12-15 teachers,” said President of La Crosse Education Association, Ed Ludwig.

Steve Salerno from the La Crosse School District Human Resources say’s class sizes are going to stay the same, but it will be tough when staff gets cut to the bare minimum.

“We are going to cut proportionately, so not any one part of the organization is impacted more than another,” said Salerno.

Teachers won’t know until the end of May if they are being cut or not. That’s later than usual, and leaves teachers on edge.

“The fact that teachers have to find out so late is tough. Normally we would know by May 15th,” said Ludwig.

To keep class sizes the same some grades will have to be combined under one teacher. The students will still be getting the curriculum they need, but the teacher will have double duty.

“I can take these 9 (from grade 2) and these 9 students (from grade 3) and combine them into one class instead of purchasing 2 more teachers,” said Salerno.

Walker told us yesterday that the reason schools are having troubles is because they aren’t taking full advantage of the reforms. But that’s just not true says both Ludwig and Salerno.

“He’s telling schools they should’ve kicked their teachers across the butt some more and taken more money from the teachers. That’s really what he’s saying,” said Ludwig.

“The impact of Act 10 is that our employees seem to be taking home less and less, and working harder and harder,” said Salerno.

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