80 staff members laid off in Champaign County School District

By Grace Rebekah Kenney

The Champaign County School District has laid off over 80 members of its staff this year. According to Illinois State Law, schools are required to complete a Reduction in Force (RIF) within 45 days of the end of the current school term.

Beth Shepperd, Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources at the Champaign County School District, said that this laying off of work is nothing new, and that it is no different from the past few years.

“You adjust for the coming year, and if you get grant money back, you can bring back people,” she said.

Two separate Reduction in Force processes are conducted annually – one for certified teaching staff, and the other for classified, non-teaching support staff. 80 members were laid off from the certified staff and 20 taken from the non-certified staff.

For the support staff, employees were RIF’d if they were in an interim position for the year, in a soft position, which here would mean reliant on grant money, or if the district has decided to eliminate a position.

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    “We really didn’t do that this year for our support staff,” said Susan Johnston, administrative assistant in human resources, referring to elimination of positions.

    For the teaching staff, there are certain criteria that the District looks at every year before laying off an employee.

    “If you are a part-time teacher, you will be RIF’d,” Johnston said. “The reason we do that is because we don’t know our enrollment for next year.”

    She added that most RIF’d positions are called back by the beginning of the next school year, after class sizes and potential for splitting classes has been considered. In general, around 80-90% of such positions are called back, Johnston said.