St. Paul school district laying off 143 teachersby Tom Weber, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — The St. Paul School district is laying off 143 teachers to help balance its budget. That's nearly four times the average number of teachers laid off in the previous four years.
"The magnitude of the budget shortfall this year was a large part of this," said Teresa Rogers, executive director of human resources and employee relations for the district. "We have a $25 million budget shortfall - and so to try to make sure that we can live within that, we had to make some cuts."
Teachers' union president Mary Cathryn Ricker says she hopes some teachers will be called back in coming months as the district gets more information on its budget and how it can spend federal stimulus money.
"I really am still holding out some hope that we can make some creative decisions about the stimulus package funding, so that we're making decisions that meet the kids here in St. Paul by creating and saving jobs for teachers in St. Paul," Ricker said.
The St. Paul School Board approved the job cuts last night and is expected to approve the district's entire budget next week.
District leaders say the big deficit was a main reason for needing to cut so many teachers. The district employs more than 3,000 teachers.