The Monticello School District has laid off 49 teachers as it works to adjust to the budget challenges brought, in part, by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The school board on Monday, April 5, passed a series of four resolutions making the non-renewal of the teacher contracts official. The action came as part of the consent agenda, and as is the norm with consent agenda items, there was no discussion on the matter among school board members.
But Superintendent Eric Olson discussed the teacher cuts prior to board action.
He noted that while there were an abnormal number of teachers receiving contract termination notices, the district was not laying off 40-50 teachers in long-standing teaching positions.
Most of the teachers being laid off were hired because of the pandemic through federal CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act) funding,” Olson said. The CARES funding was allocated to the district to provide help with online learning, distance learning, and substitutes necessary to weather the storm brought on by the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Many of these were always temporary positions...” Olson said.
Olson said it was sad that the Monticello School District was one of the countless school districts across the state to be in a position of needing to make reductions to keep its budget balanced.
“There continues to be a funding gap in education and it has been particularly painful this year as schools have lost pupils- and funding- to a variety of alternative learning options during the pandemic,” Olson said.
“We are having to let go some excellent teachers and I want to thank each and every one of them for what they contributed to our school community and for the positive impact they’ve had on our students,” he said.
Olson noted that school district officials will work hard to find ways to raise revenues and find other cost-saving measures that will allow the district retain and even grow what he called its “amazing” staff into the future.
The probationary teachers who will not be retained are: Beaudry, Katie; Kalal, April; Nygaard Lisa; Paulson, Theodore; Pratt, Lindsey; Scherber, Linnea; Wutschke, Katie; Adams, Yesenia; Hill, Christine; Johnson, Hunter; Sanderson, Marley; Belisle Hickman, Danielle; Biegler, Stacy; Borgert, Shawn; Lundquist, Tyler; Muhonen, Jake; Reeves, Danielle; Rickard, Keri; Stone, Holly; Weiss, Sara; Hayda, Chad; Peters, Holly; Tusler, Bridgeport; Krohn, Melissa; Macki, Keenan; Baptiste, Anna; Christianson, Scott; Decker, Jacqueline; Gunderson, Luther; Lerberg, Nichole; Lundquist, Benjamin; Revenig, Alexandra; Stephanie Schmieg; Berger, Patti Jo; Blanchard, Jill; Butler, Jordan; Geertsema, Kimberly; Sims-Kosloski, Kathi; Kittock, Mikayla; Schyma, James; Walquist, Drew.
The tenured teachers who will not be retained are: Stacy Rosa and Jessica Lenertz.
Two teachers were placed on unrequested leave of absence: John Weekley and Lauren Whiteford.
Four Title 1 teachers did not have contracts renewed: Holly Anderson, Tammy Helminen, Julie Johnson and Katie Treadway.
All teachers facing non-renewal and termination of their contracts were notified of the action prior to the April 5 school board meeting.
Reach Jeff Hage at email@example.com