Editor's note: The percentage of staff reduction has been corrected.
Cleveland Heights-University Heights City Schools will lay off 42 teachers at the end of this academic year.
The Board of Education unanimously approved the staff reductions at Tuesday’s meeting, and the teachers who will be laid off have been notified. The district noted that there will be subsequent reductions in support and administrative staff that are expected to be reviewed by the Board May 21.
The district was required by law to notify the laid off teachers by April 30.
The cuts represent a 7 percent reduction in teaching staff. Superintendent Doug Heuer noted that the teaching staff has increased its teaching staff by 5 percent since 2001, but cut administrative staff by 21 percent and support staff by 6 percent in the same time span.
In the same time span, student population has decreased by 16 percent. “Much of the teacher increase has been related to an increasing number of special education students, and an increasing number of at-risk students, but it still needs to be brought in line with our current needs.
“Reducing staff will align our staffing numbers with the needs of the student population being served,” he added.
Heuer noted that the district’s principals will use a zero-based budget strategy for next year’s schools.
Cleveland Heights Teachers Union President Ari Klein spoke after the meeting.
"People are devastated. People are losing their jobs," he said. "But the board has to make cuts at this point in time to become the right size."
He added, "I don't believe that it was a malicious layoff. They're probably being more safe than they need to be. They're trying to be responsible stewards."
Teaching spots that open up — due to retirements, resignations or the final enrollment numbers for next school year — will be offered first to the teachers who have been laid off.
"It still hurts when people are reduced, even if they're called back next week," said Klein. "We lose good people in that time. We lose good people we've invested in."