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Hart School District announces major layoffs


Cite shortfall in state funding

The William S. Hart School District governing board has voted to lay off about 80 teachers and staff members. Notices have been mailed to the affected personnel.

The Hart school district is facing a budget shortfall because of declining student enrollment and decided at its board meeting on Feb. 21 to lay off more than 50 teachers and counselors and about 30 staff members.

An independent review of the district's budget, shared at the meeting, showed a need to cut costs because of a decrease in state funding.

The board previously approved a fiscal stability plan in January to save roughly $46 million over the next three and a half years to address the cuts in state funding. The board members approved layoff notices for district employees and they will be sent out by the end of next week. Those teachers with the least tenure will be the first ones of the list of layoffs.

Board member Cherise Moore abstained from the vote regarding classified employees and the other four members approved it. The board voted unanimously on layoffs for certified employees.

The board plans to lay off 50 teachers, six support program specialists and seven counselors. Additionally, therapists, custodians, warehouse workers, administrative assistants and groundskeepers will be part of the layoff plan.

The daily student attendance in the district has dropped to 19,613 in the 2023-24 school year in a report presented in December. It represents 94.82% of the district's total enrollment. In 2020-21, the student attendance was 21,211 per day.

A large portion of the district budget is tied to daily student attendance, which has steadily dropped in recent years. The projected daily student attendance is expected to continue to drop for the next two years at about 500 students per year.