By Tony Marquis, Standard Staff
Eleven teachers from Woodstock Union High School and Middle School were told Thursday by WUHS Principal Greg Schillinger that their jobs will be reduced or cut at the end of the school year.
The staff cuts — among others in programs and facilities — were proposed by a school board finance committee, with input from Windsor Central Supervisory Union Superintendent Alice Worth. Of the 11 teachers, two have been informed their positions won’t be renewed in the fall — the other nine will see reductions in their hours.
Bristow, president of the teacher’s organization at WUHS-MS, said she spoke to the teachers who were “heartbroken” by the news. The reduced positions will be made available to staff at 3 p.m. Friday. Any reduction in staff is based on tenure, according to Bristow.
“We anticipated (cuts),” Bristow said. “But we did not anticipate the widespread nature of it, because we really hadn’t been informed as to how much money was being pursued for cuts.”
Worth said the finance committee was forced to make cuts due to declining enrollment and state funding.
“The reality is: We have fewer kids in the building. All of our programs are impacted by those fewer numbers — some of our classes were dwindling down well below our recommended class size threshold,” Worth said. “We simply had to make some cuts.”
Opening day enrollment for the high school and middle school was 533 students. It is projected to decrease by 24 students next school year, according to Worth.
“Nobody is disputing the need to cut the budget,” Bristow said. “We recognize the issues that are facing all of the schools in our district regarding shrinking enrollment and rising costs. What we truly regret is that there was no attempt made by the school board to engage in a conversation about early retirement incentives.
“Had there been, there’s no doubt on our side, that there would have been a far less painful situation here today.”
More information regarding proposed teacher, staff, program and facility cuts will be released at a school board meeting Wednesday at 7 p.m.
Voters could decide to reinstate the positions or programs, Worth said.