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Gilbert Public Schools Letting Go Of 152 Teachers Due To Enrollment Drop

Gilbert Public Schools is letting go of 152 certified educators next school year, citing a decrease in student enrollment.  

The district of more than 33,000 students and 40 schools said it experienced a drop in enrollment of 1,600 students year over year. This is on trend with the 5% to 6% decreases that the Arizona Department of Education is seeing at other districts statewide due to the pandemic. 

"Decisions like this are not easily made, and as a school district, we greatly value all of our employees and their contributions," said Gilbert Public Schools in a Friday letter to employees. "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."

The district is working on efforts to increase enrollment next year, it said in its statement. 

Gilbert Education Association president Amber Franco had heard at a previous governing board meetings that the enrollment drop may lead to a reduction in force, but said it was still hard to hear the official announcement on Friday. 

“I think it was just gut wrenching to everybody, so we’ve liked all of the support that we’ve had," she said. "We probably won’t be the only ones in the nation or in the state having to face some of this.” 

The district will share more information on how it arrived to this decision and selected which employees to cut at its governing board meeting on Tuesday at 6 p.m. 

Meanwhile the Gilbert Education Association is working on supporting impacted staff members and helping them move forward, Franco said. 

The public can show its support for Gilbert Public Schools teachers by wearing blue, she said. 

Rocio Hernandez was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2020 to 2022.