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Q: When Herb Weissenfels announced that elementary school physical education was being dropped and some teachers were being laid off, he said other school districts are facing the same problem. Is this true and to what extent?

A: Absolutely. In fact, some of the state's larger districts are laying off hundreds of teachers to balance their budgets next year. The districts most impacted are those that, like Payson, are experiencing slow growth, no growth or an actual decline in enrollment.

A few examples:

  • Scottsdale Unified School District is cutting 163 teachers next year, about 10 percent of its work force.
  • Paradise Valley Unified School District is eliminating eight elementary music school teachers next year.
  • Mesa Unified School District is cutting 100 support staff positions, but not any teachers. Reading and math specialists, however, will go back to regular classrooms next year.
  • Cave Creek Unified School District is laying off 11 percent of its teaching staff -- 32 teachers.
  • Prescott Unified School District is not posting any jobs for next year until its budget picture becomes clearer.

Districts that are not planning reductions include Tucson Unified, Deer Valley Unified, and Chandler Unified.

State law requires notification of teachers by April 15 if their contracts are not being renewed.

Call 474-5251, ext. 147, to reach Roundup's What's Up? line. Leave your question on the answering machine and we'll try to find the answer.

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