Teachers brought back | TheUnion.com

Teachers brought back

A total of 11 teachers who had faced layoffs have been rehired for the coming school year by the Nevada Joint Union High School District.

The teachers hired on a temporary basis will help the high school district qualify for class-size reduction goals in ninth-grade English and mathematics.

The district issued notices to 17 teachers in March, informing them that their hours were being reduced or eliminated. Some of those teachers were retiring or were filling in temporarily.

Only three new positions were added for the 2004-05 school year, which begins Aug. 18, district Superintendent Maggie Deetz said.

As of Monday, two laid-off instructors had not been brought back, she said.

Deetz and teachers union representative Dan Kemp told the affected teachers this spring that they would likely return in the fall.

Last year, a few of the teachers who were laid off weren’t brought back until after the 2003-04 year started because the district nearly missed a deadline for the class-size reduction money.

“I feel relieved,” said Nevada Union media teacher and Partnership Academy instructor Brad Dal Bon, who received a layoff notice, only to be informed that he would be invited back this year.

He also serves as one of only four on-campus coaches for the NU Miners football team.

“My approach is to stare adversity in the face and just do my job. That’s the bottom line.”

Dal Bon, 32, will be starting his sixth year at the school. He interviewed at four different school districts in the past several months because he wasn’t sure he’d get his old job back. Stability has been lacking for most of his tenure at Nevada Union, he said.

“There was a good chunk of time when I would have taken any job offered me,” he said, adding that he pursued jobs in districts with growing student populations, where he would have better job security.

The money given to the high school district from the state will help keep ninth-grade math and English classes at 20 students per class.

Nevada Union math instructor Greg Bentley, who has spent the past two years under a temporary contract, applauded the district’s commitment to class-size reduction. Some of his math classes held as many as 36 students last year.

“I think student achievement is higher when we keep the level closer to 25,” he said. “Statewide, our class sizes are too large.”

As in the past two years, Bentley said he still expects a pink slip next March because of his status as a temporary employee.

Deetz said the process of applying to the state for class-size reduction funds each year puts teachers and the district at a disadvantage.

“We’re really hopeful that class-size reduction becomes a regular part of the budget,” she said. Issuing layoff notices “is not a good situation at all. We lose quality people, and that’s certainly not the way we want to do it.”

Dal Bon and Bentley, meanwhile, are vigorously preparing for the start of the school year, even if their futures aren’t clear.

“The bottom line is, I don’t want to be surprised (by layoffs) anymore, and I want to keep the lines of communication open,” Dal Bon said. “I’ll do anything that my job requires me to do.”

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