IPS cancels contracts for 26 educators, 46 other staffers

In the face of a severe budget crunch, Indianapolis Public Schools has notified 26 educators that they could lose their jobs, according to the administration.

The revelation that 26 educators, or about 1 percent of the district’s teaching force, will have their contracts canceled comes after weeks of uncertainty over how many teachers might lose their jobs. At least 46 other staff members, including parent-involvement educators, bilingual assistants and discipline staff, also had their contracts canceled, according to the June personnel report.

The reduction in force is smaller than some feared considering the district’s dire financial situation—a projected $45 million deficit next school year. If none of the educators are rehired, the district will save about $1.7 million, according to the administration.

It’s not a guarantee that all of the staff members will lose their jobs, though. If more positions in IPS open in the coming weeks, educators could be rehired, Superintendent Lewis Ferebee said.

The notifications are one of several steps the administration is taking to cut spending. Schools across the district also saw cuts to their budgets, and the district offered $20,000 buyout packages to 87 retiring teachers.

Ferebee said that far fewer educators lost their positions than could have considering how many teachers were displaced by the closing of three high schools. The administration and Indianapolis Education Association have been working for months to place those teachers in other schools, he said.

“Getting a list to be that small, I think, is a phenomenal feat,” he said. “But, you know, ideally we would like to have it where we don’t have any reductions in force.”

The district is making the cuts in subject areas where they are overstaffed. They include five counselors, six music teachers, eight physical education teachers, two media specialists, one Latin teacher, three English language arts teachers and one theater teacher.

Indiana law requires districts to make reductions in force based on performance. If teachers are in the same performance category, the district may also take into account their years of experience, education, evaluation results, instructional leadership roles, and the academic needs of students.

The number of teachers who lose their jobs will not increase because teachers must be notified of reductions in force by July 1 under state law.

Chalkbeat is a not-for-profit news site covering educational change in public schools.

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