MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Hundreds of Shelby County Schools employees, including teachers and administrators, got letters in the mail saying their jobs were cut.
WREG took part in a media conference call with SCS’ Director of Talent Management and Chief of Human Resources to ask why.
“We are a district with declining enrollment. You know, we have budget issues, every year we’re having to make tough decisions,” said Director of Talent Management Sheila Redick.
In addition to those reasons, Redick said other positions were eliminated due to Achievement School District takeovers, some school closures, and the transformation of some schools to iZone schools, which have a high bar of selection.
Last year, SCS cut 800 positions.
SCS said about 97% of the people whose positions were cut found jobs elsewhere in the district.
This year, SCS confirmed it cut 520 teaching or administrative positions.
Of those 520 positions, the district has reassigned about 250 people.
About 270 people have not yet found other employment in the district.
SCS said roughly 200 of the 270 people still looking for jobs meet or exceed expectations.
SCS said it has been hosting job fairs to help them find positions.
There will be another job fair next week.
“The district has chosen a path that is not of least resistance,” said Memphis Shelby County Education Association President Keith Williams.
He believed there is a major gap in communication.
Williams told WREG his office has requested the list of individuals whose positions have been cut from the district several times.
The district said it sends reemployment lists when they are finalized.
Williams said that currently, he only knows if people’s positions have been cut if they tell MSCEA.
Williams said the letters themselves are confusing and several of them are worded differently.
WREG received copies of a couple letters.
One letter said, “this letter is to officially inform you that effective June 30, 2015, your employment contract with Shelby County Schools will not be renewed for the 2015-2016 school year.”
Another letter said, “your current position will no longer exist with Shelby County Schools,” and goes on to say, “you will be placed on a list for reemployment.”
“All of that means you don’t have a position,” Williams said.
SCS said there are currently about 350 open teacher positions.
WREG asked the district how many positions have been filled by teachers outside SCS.
The district said it is working to find us that number.