School districts decide whether or not to make cuts - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

School districts decide whether or not to make cuts before March 15 deadline

 By Anna Carrera - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

WESTON (WAOW) -- School leaders across the state face a common question this time of year -- To cut? Or not to cut?

Technically, state statute requires school districts to hand out final layoff notices before March 15th. But some districts find ways to buy themselves a little more time.

"We think it's important not only to be planning for the future but for those people that would be involved in those layoffs to give them some time," said DC Everest Superintendent Kristine Gilmore.

Gilmore said they want to be proactive, sending out layoff notices far enough in advance so no one is caught off guard. Merrill and Antigo school districts have followed similar paths.

"We'd rather be safe than be in a situation where we couldn't make good decisions for kids and teachers because we were locked into a certain date," said Gilmore.

March 15 marks the day Wisconsin leaders have set apart for final layoff notices to be sent to teachers, but some districts have found ways to work around that.

Leaders in Wisconsin Rapids said they have until May 1st to send out preliminary notices because they worked out a deal with their teacher's union. They plan to hand out final notices by May 15th, buying them some time to digest whatever Walker's final budget turns out to be.

Marshfield school leaders said their teachers have until April 1st to decide whether they plan to retire. They'll see if they need to make layoffs after that but said they anticipate seeing more retirements than usual this year.

Regardless of whether school leaders plan to work ahead or wait and see how the budget numbers fall, both sides said they're just trying to do what's best for the children in their district.

Other districts have worked out different agreements with their teacher unions to help balance the budget, like cutting hours for teachers instead of having to lay them off entirely.

Online Reporter: Anna Carrera

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