Hiring chances increasing for displaced RFSD teachers
Roaring Fork School District teachers who will be displaced or dismissed after this school year from their current positions due to student enrollment shifts to the new Riverview School and declines elsewhere have a growing list of rehire opportunities.
As of last week, the district had 29 open positions due to recent decisions by those not affected by the enrollment shifts to resign or retire at the end of the current school year. That’s a fairly typical trend, and the number is expected to continue to increase, Nikki Jost, human resources director for Roaring Fork Schools, said.
As that number grows, it increases the odds that the two dozen teachers who were either displaced, in the case of teachers with more than three years in the district, or nonrenewed, in the case of probationary teachers, will have a chance to be hired into a new position, if they choose to apply.
Most of the affected teachers are at Sopris Elementary School and Glenwood Springs Middle School, which will see a huge shift of students to the new kindergarten-through-eighth-grade Riverview School that is under construction south of Glenwood and expected to open for the 2017-18 school year.
Anticipated enrollment drops in certain age groups and in specialized programs next year at other district schools have also led to teacher displacements and nonrenewals.
The district sought a legal opinion from attorney M. Brent Case when the question arose at a school board meeting two weeks ago about closing the process to outside applicants until all of the teachers displaced or nonrenewed due to the latest enrollment projections for next school year who want to remain in the district find new positions.
Under state law, school districts are prohibited from transferring displaced teachers to a different school against the will of teacher or school administrator.
However, district officials agreed to work with the Roaring Fork Community Education Association, which represents district teachers, to try to help the affected teachers through the process of finding a new job, if they wished.
All of the affected teachers were placed in a priority hiring pool for new positions, but not everyone is actively pursuing re-employment in the district, Jost said in an update to the RFSD Board of Education this week.
“Of the original 24 teachers in the priority hiring pool, four have found positions in the district and one has announced her retirement at the end of the current school year,” Jost wrote in a memo to the board.
Of the 19 remaining, nine are considered “displaced” due to their length of time with the district, meaning they are guaranteed placement of some sort for at least one more year, and 10 were nonrenewed with no guarantee of placement.
“Of the nine displaced teachers in the priority hiring pool, three are actively applying for other district positions. Of the 10 non-renewed teachers, seven are actively applying for other district positions,” Jost said.
As positions come open, those who are seeking positions for next year are immediately notified that they have five days to apply, and all qualified priority hiring pool applicants are guaranteed an interview, she explained.
If a priority hiring pool teacher is not selected for the position, it is opened to other internal and external applicants. If a priority candidate doesn’t apply during the initial five-day window, they can still apply when the position is opened to other candidates and are guaranteed an interview, Jost said.
To date, two teachers currently at Sopris Elementary had been hired at the new Riverview School, she said. As of earlier this week, the new school still had 14 positions to fill, including the assistant principal. A variety of other teaching positions were also open at schools across the district, from Glenwood to Basalt.
“It changes every day,” Jost said, adding the human resources office is available to assist those in the priority hiring pool with resumes, reference letters and interview skills to help them land a new job.
Updates on available positions and the status of the displaced and nonrenewed teachers are being given to the school board during its twice-monthly meetings.