- Associated Press - Friday, March 10, 2017

RENO, Nev. (AP) - Washoe County School District officials say they don’t plan any teacher layoffs, but 30 vacant positions probably will remain unfilled in the face of a $30 million budget deficit entering the next school year.

Superintendent Traci Davis issued a statement emphasizing that, despite rumors to the contrary, they have not considered layoffs to address the “significant” budget shortfall in the district with 9,000 employees and 64,000 students.

“We are working hard to pursue many options to ensure that we do not have to layoff teachers, including freezing all vacant positions with a focus on central office positions first. Additionally, we have been working with our associations, including the teacher’s union, every step of the way,” Davis said in the statement Thursday.

“That being said, it is important to note, that at no time did we talk about laying off staff,” she said.

In addition to the 30 jobs currently open, some pending openings resulting from retirements also likely will be reviewed and frozen by the end of the school year.

The district said last week that it is trying to balance a $472 million operating budget.

District Spokeswoman Megan Downs told the Reno Gazette-Journal (https://tinyurl.com/j34rbey) that the intention is to make cuts in every department with the least impact on the classroom.

Non-academic posts that do not affect students directly in the district’s business, human resources, facilities and risk management could be affected by the hiring freeze, the district said.

One option is to expand class sizes in K-12. The district says adding two students to each classroom would save about $12 million.

The Board of Trustees plans a daylong workshop to discuss the budget March 16 at Damonte Ranch High School. It is open to the public. A budget town hall is planned April 6 at Wooster High School at 6 p.m.

On April 11, the school board will vote on the tentative budget that is to be submitted to the Department of Taxation on April 15. The district’s final budget is due June 8.

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