Policy proposal leaves some seasoned EPISD teachers uneasy


POSTED: Tuesday, May 6, 2014 - 11:21pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, May 7, 2014 - 6:29pm

A proposed policy change in the El Paso Independent School District has some seasoned educators a little uneasy. 

Lucy Clarke with the El Paso Federation of Teachers and Support Personnel told NewsChannel 9 she is worried about EPISD’s plan to freshen up an out-of-date policy that would determine how the district would handle a “reduction in force,” or layoffs.

“I’m very much concerned,” Clarke said.

Clarke said according to new Texas guidelines, when it comes to teacher layoffs, a principal must consider five criteria: performance, seniority, education, certifications, and any extra duties the teacher may have such as athletics coaching.

Associate Superintendent Robert Almanzán said by law, performance must be placed at the top of the list.

“The other four items can go in any order,” Clarke added. “(The Federation) feels that seniority should be second.” 

But EPISD has instead placed seniority at the bottom of its proposed criteria list.

Clarke said she is nervous some of the most tenured – and highest-paid – teachers could find themselves on the chopping block ahead of younger, less-experienced educators if the district were to make layoffs.

“If it’s there in the paper, it could happen,” Clarke said .

Almanzán reiterated that no layoffs are planned for EPISD.  But he also said that if they were to happen, educators who excel in the classroom would have nothing to worry about.

“Many of our very experienced (teachers) are the top performers,” Almanzán said. “Just like in any entity, you want your best and brightest.”

The EPISD Board of Managers postponed a vote on the proposal at a special 2 p.m. meeting Tuesday. The item will be brought up again at the board's meeting on May 20.

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