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More staff cuts made at PES

PRINCETON — The Princeton Elementary School Board met in special session Thursday night to increase its Reduction in Force (RIF) action by three more employees.

On Friday, Superintendent Tim Smith said teachers Ryan Crawley, who teaches fifth grade at Reagan Middle School; Margo Cartwright, first-grade teacher at Jefferson Elementary School; and Christa Gruber, kindergarten teacher at Jefferson Elementary School, were RIFed during Thursday’s special meeting.

Thursday’s board action was not so much a cost-savings measure, as was the board’s RIF action taken during Monday’s regular board meeting, Smith said. Rather, the action was for the purpose of being able to shift personnel into different positions with the board looking at more the long-term placement of personnel, Smith said.

Crawley, Cartwright and Gruber join 25 other PES employees who were RIFed during Monday’s regular board meeting. Those employees included 10 teachers aides and two teachers in the kindergarten through eight grade program, as well as the entire staff of 13 people in the Bright Beginnings/ Early Childhood preschool program.

Smith said he does not expect any more RIF action for this school year. Also, he expects the three who were RIFed at Thursday’s meeting to be recalled.

Unfortunately, the Reduction in Force has been a common practice for school districts for years, Smith said. However, more PES employees were added to this year’s list than ever before, he said.

“And, my fear is that the RIF list will continue to increase as the failure of revenue for the district continues to increase,” Smith said. “It’s a real problem.”

As far as the possibility of recalling RIFed employees, Smith said the district should learn by the end of May what funding will be available from the state. When that information is received, then the board will be able to make better plans for the next school year, he said.

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