Springfield Public Schools dropping 49 teaching jobs after enrollment decline

No teachers currently employed will lose jobs
Updated: Jun. 14, 2021 at 9:51 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - After a year of enrollment decline, Springfield Public Schools is planning to drop 49 teaching jobs.

A district spokesperson said no teacher that is currently employed by the district will lose their job. Between retirements and other departures, the district plans to shed those 49 spots.

District officials say it is pretty normal to see some turnover from year to year, which will help offset staffing reductions.

“Every year, a district this size with more than 3,500 staff members we see anywhere between 150 plus resignations and retirements across the system,” Springfield Public Schools spokesperson Stephen Hall said.

Of those 49 jobs, 14 will spread across high school and middle school teachers. Another 35 will be at the elementary level, where the district saw its biggest enrollment drop.

“Schools all across the country are really experiencing a bit of an enrollment dip in response to the global pandemic,” Hall said. “And I think that’s to be expected as parents really tried to assess what they were going to do.”

Hall said the district had a little more than 1,500 students leave over the past year.

“During the pandemic, some chose homeschooling, some chose private school and then there were some normal attrition with moving to other districts within the region,” he said. “And we expect about 50-percent of those students to return again this year.”

Hall said that likely has to do with the district adjusting back to normal.

While some teachers said virtual days worked fine this year, they also said 5 days back in the classroom has its perks.

“I mean I think kids are kind of going to be social creatures,” Westport Elementary teacher Sara Bryant said. “Just like anybody else, I think even adults were feeling kind of the sting of kind of staying socially distanced and separating.”

Springfield schools returned to 5 days of in person learning back in March. And now many teachers and students alike are enjoying summer school after an unusual year.

“Summer school is great,” Bryant said. “You kind of get to take a step back and focus on some fun elements that you don’t necessarily get to teach about during the school year.”

The school district is currently set to be back to the full 5 days this fall. The board is expected to vote in one week on next school year’s budget.

Hall said enrollment does have a direct impact on the amount of money the district gets from the state.

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