Wake County schools implementing hiring freeze

April 14, 2010 8:33:23 PM PDT
Wake County school leaders sent out a memo this week stating that a hiring freeze was implemented effective Monday.

The hiring freeze affects new hires and re-hires for the 2010-2011 school year.

The freeze involves all central services positions and all school-based positions with the exception of Special Education teachers.

Click here to read the memo

The decision comes as the system struggles with a budget crisis.

"I went through this last year," teacher Erin Johnson said. "I was at a different school in Wake County. Unfortunately, they had to let me go because their numbers were low and because of the budget."

Johnson said that last week when she thought Wake schools were only $20 million in the hole. Now, that figure is somewhere between $40 million and $55 million and a new hiring freeze makes matters worse.

"Every day I come in just hoping that it won't be my last," Johnson said.

The system will not consider new hires and re-hires next school year until it meets all of its contractual obligations. That's about 800 employees with contracts expiring at the end of June who could lose jobs next school year.

"We need to make sure we're doing everything we can to save money as well as do everything we can to not negatively impact kids in the classroom," School Board Member Chris Malone said.

Once the freeze is lifted, certified re-hires will work under probationary contracts, which is a tough blow as school leaders consider options to survive the remainder of this year and prepare for the next with less state funding.

"I didn't find any of the options very palatable, in fact I found them all really distasteful," School Board Member Debra Goldman said.

Board members discussed the options Wednesday afternoon.

"We're working hard ... scratching our heads to come up with ways to save as many positions and resources as possible," School Board Member Keith Sutton said.

The options range from moving school start times up 15 minutes, which would save about $750,000, to raising the price of lunches.

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