Albert Lea High School teachers given notice

Published 11:50 am Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Some staff at Albert Lea High School were notified Monday of changes to their positions. The cuts in staffing to Albert Lea High School are based on enrollment figures for the next year and not because of budget cuts.

“This is kind of a right sizing,” Bill Leland said. “It’s a normal process we go through to make sure we have the right number of staff depending on our needs.”

Leland is chair of the Albert Lea school board. The board voted Monday night to cut about three and a half positions. This does not mean three teachers are being cut but that four part-time positions were cut and one person retired and will not be replaced.

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Joe Sczublewski is retiring from the social studies department. The four teachers being cut include spanish teacher Nicole Escobar, English language learners teacher Kane Malo and two math teachers, Joee Winter and Kelly Holmstadt. The four cuts are considered non-renewals, which means they don’t have a contract unless someone else leaves in their department.

“Core curriculum is what’s getting hit,” Leland said.

The school has more than 270 students who need required classes and next year they will have about 225 so there will be less students taking required classes.

The board has been planning for this because they know class sizes, and it did not come as a surprise that they would have to make some changes.

“We’ve planned for it,” Leland said. “We knew we were going to have to make a change.”

With a reduction in 50 or 60 students at the high school there is a loss of state aid and the school has to make cuts to adjust to that.

“We cut in social studies a bit and then cut partial positions in English, math and science,” Superintendent Mike Funk said.

The board does not cut positions from only one area of the core curriculum so there’s less of an impact.

“We look at specifically what’s our requirements,” Leland said. “We’re not cutting whole programs or full classes.”

Class sizes will still be kept to about 30 or less students in the core areas. The class graduating this year is a large class and the board doesn’t expect more changes like this.

“We don’t expect significant adjustments based on enrollment in the future,” Funk said.

There may be staffing adjustments or cuts but those would be based on state budgets. Even though the decision Monday was necessary the board would prefer not to cut teachers.

“Yesterday was tough because nobody likes to have to lay off anybody, but that’s the nature of our economic times,” Funk said.

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