19 Ashland School Staffers Lose Their Jobs

ASHLAND, Ore. — Nineteen Ashland School District staff members, mostly paraprofessionals and education assistants, have been layed off in the face of shrinking budgets. They will vacate their posts in June, at the end of the school year.


Fewer Children Enrolled in Schools Every Year

Culling staff has been inevitable as the Ashland School District continues to have fewer children enrolled each year since 2017 – about 300 less since that date.

Fewer enrollments equate to less state funding and the Ashland School District has lost about $3 million. The time has arrived to “tighten belts” says Superintendent Samuel Bogdanove.

Bogdanove blames the high cost of living in Ashland for the decline in student numbers. He says fewer families are moving to Ashland because they are unable to find accommodation in the area, a “long-term trend” in Ashland.

Other contributing factors, says Bogdanove, were the pandemic, the Almeda Fire in 2020, and the end of an era when the open enrollment policy that permitted students to transition into Ashland schools was stopped.

According to an article, Living in Ashland, the area has a higher cost of living than most other cities in Oregon because of higher-than-average real estate prices, and expensive rentals that are in short supply. Other “cons” about living in Ashland are that job opportunities are limited, and the risk of wildfires are high as the area is surrounded by forests and mountains.


More Budget Cuts are Inevitable

Bogdanove says more budget cuts are inevitable. While the current layoffs translate to a saving of about $2.4 million, the school district will have to trim a further $2.5 over the next two years.

Bogdanove says “strategic thinking” will have to be adopted. “We need more time to make sure we are shaping ourselves in a way in which we will have the desired impact on the community.”

Acknowledging that Ashland schools have achieved Tremendous academic and social behavioral gains since the end of COVID, high levels of needs nevertheless still existed. Bogdanove says there are concerns that the level of resources required to meet those needs would not be able to be funded.

Bogdanove will be retiring this year and handing over control to new superintendent, Joseph Hattrick. He began his career in 1988 teaching English as a second language in Japan. After two years working overseas, Bogdanove returned to the U.A. where he worked with special needs children for several years.

He arrived in Ashland in 2001 and before his appointment as superintendent of the school district, worked as the interim principal at Ashland High School from 2019 to 2020.




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