“Mad River Education Association is very happy the district decided not to implement the reduction in force of valuable teaching staff,” a union statement Monday said. “We will continue to advocate for our students to ensure their academic and social-emotional needs are being met as they recover from the challenges of the last year.”
School district officials had said earlier that years of deficit spending and declining enrollment made the staffing cuts necessary. The teachers union had questioned the previously planned cuts, saying $10 million in federal ESSER funds were available and that students needed extra help catching up after a COVID-affected year.
Alexander said ESSER funds helped Mad River save seven positions. Wyen specifically cited two other things that helped the district avoid layoffs — that eight staffers took advantage of a new retirement incentive program, and financial support from Preschool Promise that will pay to keep two preschool teachers.
“Between those two things plus some resignations, that got us to the point that we only had three people on the (layoff) lists. They were specials teachers,” Wyen said. “We looked at our ESSER money and our financial forecast, we realized that we would be able to retain those three specials teachers for at least the next two years, and then we can reevaluate.”
Wyen said there are still several moving parts in the district’s finances. He’s hoping for an uptick in open enrollment and a favorable outcome to the state legislature’s ongoing school funding debate, to further solidify Mad River’s finances.