18 Teachers Lose Their Jobs as Medford School District Slashes Budget by $15 million

MEDFORD, Ore. — Medford School District (MSD) has had to make a $15 million budget cut because of inadequate funding, declining enrollment, and inflation.

Eighteen full-time teachers will lose their jobs during the 2024-25 school year.

The severity package will be implemented during the next two fiscal years.


32 School Personnel Will Lose Their Jobs

In a statement, the MSD announced that “persistent underfunding” has led to severe budget cuts and staff cutbacks – 32 personnel will lose their jobs.

The MSD will make budget cuts of $7.5 million during the 2024-25 fiscal year, with the same amount pruned from its 2025-26 school year budget.

Several factors have contributed to the financial strain. Apart from persistent underfunding in critical education areas, combined with increasing costs that lack corresponding increases in funding, and unfunded state mandates, have all contributed to an untenable situation.


Elementary Schools Are the Hardest Hit

Elementary schools are the hardest hit by the MSD budget reshuffle. In a press statement, the school district says that there has been a 24% drop in elementary school enrollments since 2019.

A total of 32 positions will be affected by the following reductions: District administrators – 12.1%, School administrators – 8.2%, Confidential Managers/Supervisors – 5.9%, Teachers – 2.5%, Classified staff – 0.9%


Heartbreaking Position, Says MSD Superintendent – Breakdown of Staff Cuts

The MSD superintendent, Bret Champion, described the decision as “heartbreaking.” Personnel affected by the budget cuts at school level are:

  • 4 elementary assistant principals affecting schools with less than 300 students (schools with 325 enrollments may also be affected).
  • 1 elementary and 5 secondary teacher librarians. (Oregon no longer has an in-state option for obtaining an endorsement, making the current structure unsustainable.)
  • 2 secondary teachers – 1 FTE middle school because of declining enrollment at Medford Online Academy, and 1 FTE high school because of the need to balance the student-to-staff ratio and enrollment figures.
  • 2 elementary elective teachers, based on a reduction of 24% in enrollment.
  • 10 elementary teachers, based on a reduction of 24% in enrollment.
  • 1 English language development teacher, because of declining enrollment.
  • 1 counselor.
  • 1 high school computer lab assistant.
  • 1 middle school office staff


Underutilized Elementary Schools Go Under the Spotlight

Champion also announced the cancelation of all future construction at Innovation Academy, adding that the MSD may have to consider consolidating several elementary schools – a fact amplified by the school board press statement stating that the use of underutilized elementary schools would have to be reconsidered.

Elementary schools have been the hardest hit by low enrollment rates, says MSDs assistant superintendent of operations, Brad Earl. He explains that low birth rates are the main contributor, and that elementary schools are the first to feel the impact of low enrollments.


Public Opinion

The public will be given the opportunity to air their opinions after a meeting of the budget committee on Thursday, May 2.  More information about the process for community input will be released by early fall 2024.

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