GILBERT, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - Gilbert Public Schools announced Friday that the district is laying off more than 150 employees. It said the cuts were due to low student enrollment next year because of the pandemic.
In an email sent to staff, district officials said, "This afternoon, we made the very difficult decision to implement a necessary reduction in force for the 2021/22 school year as a result of loss of student enrollment."
Arizona's Family spoke with one Gilbert teacher who was impacted by the layoffs. She wanted to remain anonymous out of fear of retaliation. The teacher has been in the district for nine years and said she is devastated.
"I think surprise, shock. I was wondering who else in my department might have been cut too because there wasn't any warning," the teacher said.
The teacher said the district is giving her the option to finish out her contract until the end of the school year. She is now looking for other teaching positions following one of the hardest years in her career.
"That is really hard to struggle with. It has only been, it hasn't even been 24 hours since I found out," said the teacher.
The district said it is making every effort to increase enrollment for the next year and hope more students who left during the pandemic come back.
"As a school district, it is imperative that student needs remain at the center of our decision-making, and that we remain fiscally responsible to ensure the long-term success of our students, our employees, our schools, and our district as a whole."