Minneapolis Public Schools will announce about 120 layoffs of administrative personnel this week, a move to relocate funding directly back into schools where officials say it has a greater impact on students.
Central office staff at the Davis Center will be reduced by one-sixth, saving the district $11.6 million. The money will primarily go toward reducing class sizes, lowering special education caseloads and additional study time at middle and high schools, the district said.
“We want schools to have the flexibility and autonomy to make decisions at the school level that are in the best interest of their specific students,” Minneapolis Public Schools spokeswoman Rachel Hicks said.
Laid-off workers will be encouraged to apply for positions opening at schools, Hicks said, with the intention of “returning those very talented people to the classroom.”
It remains unclear how many instructional openings the district will have for displaced workers to fill. Staff members will be notified that their positions are eliminated this week but will be able to stay in their seats through the end of June. Layoffs will likely affect all aspects of the staff, Hicks said.
All of the district’s schools will receive a piece of the redirected funding in the form of discretionary dollars, but the money will not be evenly distributed. Breakdowns are expected to be released in coming weeks, Hicks said.
The Minneapolis Federation of Teachers could not be immediately reached for comment.
Staff reduction won’t come as a surprise to many, as interim Superintendent Michael Goar announced his plans to downsize the administrative office Feb. 2 — the day he took over for Bernadeia Johnson. The move is based on Johnson’s “Shift Initiative,” which aimed to redirect as much funding and resources to individual schools as possible.
Goar steps into the role during a challenging time for the district, which is dogged by a persistent and gaping achievement gap between white and minority students.
In 2015, the district recorded a budget just shy of $745 million. The Minneapolis school board will vote on the 2016 budget in June.