‘Draft’ day for teach­ers

122 ‘sur­plused’ from orig­i­nal school due to en­roll­ment shifts

Las Vegas Review-Journal - - NEVADA - COM­MEN­TARY By Meghin Delaney Las Ve­gas Re­view-jour­nal

Sh­eryl Fields walked into the meet­ing as the math hu­man­i­ties teacher at Diskin Ele­men­tary School and walked out less than 40 min­utes later as the com­puter, tech­nol­ogy and sci­ence hu­man­i­ties teacher at Lake Ele­men­tary School.

She was one of the 122 teach­ers in the Clark County School District who was “sur­plused” from their orig­i­nal school be­cause of changes in en­roll­ment and had to be re­as­signed to an­other school.

“You think you’ve got ev­ery­thing set, ev­ery­thing is fine and then — pfft — it’s not,” she said Thurs­day out­side Del Sol Academy of Per­form­ing Arts af­ter choos­ing her new as­sign­ment in a process sim­i­lar to a sports draft.

Teach­ers were given a num­ber based on their se­nior­ity in the district. They as­sem­bled in the school’s the­ater and were called up one by one to select their new job. Fields, who had made a list of her top choices, got her first choice and let out a heart­felt cheer af­ter her se­lec­tion, draw­ing laugh­ter from her peers.

Each of the 122 teach­ers would end up in a new as­sign­ment within the district, said An­dre Long, the district’s hu­man re­sources of­fi­cer. Sup­port staff mem­bers — who un­der­went the process Wed­nes­day morn­ing — weren’t quite as lucky. Of the 141 sup­port staff em­ploy­ees sub­ject to sur­plus, 45 did not end up with a job.

Now the sup­port staff will un­dergo a “re­duc­tion in force” process. Em­ploy­ees with higher se­nior­ity and bet­ter per­for­mance eval­u­a­tions, among other fac­tors, will be able to bump other em­ploy­ees out of jobs. The bumped em­ploy­ees then also have the chance to knock some­body else out.

The process is ex­pected to take about two weeks be­fore it is fully played out and the district will be


able to say how many peo­ple are out of jobs.

The sur­plus as­sign­ment hap­pens twice a year, although more sup­port staff than usual were af­fected be­cause of the on­go­ing bud­get cri­sis in the district. The district is try­ing to close a $50 mil­lion to $60 mil­lion bud­get hole.

‘Just happy I have a job’

Like many other teach­ers, Suzanne Gar­lick’s first choice would have been to stay put.

The 47-year-old didn’t want to leave her job as the re­source teacher at Lyon Mid­dle School in Over­ton. But she didn’t have a choice. When she found out she had to leave, she and her hus­band looked at the other avail­able jobs.

They mapped them out, be­cause the cou­ple lives in Over­ton, and also looked at how the schools per­formed aca­dem­i­cally. Gar­lick also knew she wanted to stay in a re­source teacher po­si­tion if pos­si­ble.

On Mon­day, she’ll start as the re­source teacher for pri­mary stu­dents at Mackey Ele­men­tary School in North Las Ve­gas.

“That was my No. 1 pick,” she said. “I’m just happy I have a job. It’s fine.”

Fields also said she knew she would be fine, but wor­ried about the ef­fect the sur­plus process has on

schoolchil­dren who bond with their teach­ers in the first cou­ple months and then see them leave.

“We’re adult, we cope, but it’s the kids …,” she said.

But it’s not al­ways just the kids who are up­set when th­ese changes hap­pen, said Tim Adams, prin­ci­pal at Martinez Ele­men­tary School.

Adams, who was hop­ing a teacher would select his open kin­der­garten slot at the down­town North Las Ve­gas school, said he spends a lot of time ex­plain­ing the sur­plus process to his par­ents.

Given his school’s de­mo­graph­ics and the fact there were more open jobs than teach­ers Thurs­day, Adams wasn’t hope­ful a teacher would choose his job.

“I’ve spo­ken with a cou­ple teach­ers that po­ten­tially may select me, but you just never know,” he said. “There’s no con­trol.”

Con­tact Meghin Delaney at 702-383-0281 or mde­laney@ re­viewjour­nal.com. Fol­low @ Meghin­de­laney on Twit­ter.

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