Home News Local News LOCAL ESD TO LAY OFF 8 TEACHERS, 22 ASSISTANTS
LOCAL ESD TO LAY OFF 8 TEACHERS, 22 ASSISTANTS
By Dick Mason
Observer Staff Writer
ISLAND CITY The Union-Baker Education Service District Board voted Thursday night to begin the process of laying off eight teachers and 22 educational assistants who work in the La Grande School District.
It is an unnerving step but not necessarily a devastating one for the educators affected.
A number of the teachers and educational assistants could be offered comparable jobs by the La Grande district. The La Grande district will provide its own special education services beginning next fall. The district may thus hire some of the ESD teachers and educational assistants who will be laid off in June.
Currently, the school district is receiving its special education services from the ESD, which is based in Island City. This will change this fall when the La Grande district will begin providing its own special education services.
An identical agreement with the other five school districts in Union County was reached last spring and took effect in the fall. The La Grande School District, though, chose to continue receiving special education services for 2002-03.
The change in the school districts' contractual agreement with the ESD was made last spring because of the financial hardships school districts in Northeast Oregon have been experiencing. The change is giving the districts a tighter grip on their money.
Some of the ESD educational assistants working in the La Grande School District could be offered positions in its Title I schools. These are schools that receive federal funding for students who are behind but do not need special education services.
The ESD is offering training to all of its employees in the La Grande School District who need the necessary Title I certification. Under the new federal No Child Left Behind Act, the certification requirements of teachers and educational assistants working in Title I schools have increased.
"We want them to be qualified for any position they are offered,'' said Union-Baker ESD Superintendent Ed Schumacher.
Several ESD educational assistants in the La Grande School District told the ESD Board Thursday that they were upset that they had not been notified earlier that this training would be provided.
Schumacher said the ESD is in the process of informing employees about the training.
"The notification process has been slower than we hoped,'' Schumacher said.