School board delays discussions about layoffs

WICHITA — The Wichita school board won't discuss teacher layoffs and other cuts targeted at schools at its Monday meeting, as originally anticipated.

A special board meeting to discuss the final phase of cuts is scheduled for May 19.

Superintendent John Allison said he postponed the discussion of the cuts because he wants to see if the Legislature can firm up a budget soon. He said the next cuts include cutting staff at schools.

"It appears they're finally running budget bills," he said. "I hoped all along we never got to Phase 5."

The Senate passed its budget bill on Wednesday. Its version, which holds schools at current funding levels, would mean the Wichita district would need to cut roughly $10 million.

The district has worked to hit a target of $25 million in reductions. Allison already announced roughly $14 million in cuts, most affecting central administration.

Allison said he knows the delay will affect employees.

"People are on edge," Allison said. "They're waiting for the next shoe to drop."

But he said that although the postponement makes staff nervous, it's better than having to have conversations about layoffs when they may not be needed.

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