Wichita school leaders say job losses are likely amid cuts

Wichita school leaders say some employees likely will lose jobs as part of recent budget cuts, but they hope retirements and other personnel shifts will take care of many of the 278 positions being eliminated.

"We're not exactly sure, at this point, what the impact of the cuts will be," Superintendent John Allison said during a media briefing Tuesday.

Wichita teachers have until June 3 to submit resignations without penalty if they plan to leave the district.

"We'll know more after that," Allison said.

On Monday, Allison proposed what he hopes will be this year's final round of budget cuts to Wichita school board members. The plan calls for cutting 186 more jobs, closing one school and eliminating several programs.

Positions being eliminated include librarians, counselors, coaches and at least 94 teachers.

"I have a feeling there will be jobs lost. It's obvious, just because of the numbers," said Larry Landwehr, president of United Teachers of Wichita, the local teachers union.

"Pretty much all year there's been this uncertainty, and now it looks like it's continuing even further," he said. "The mood has been... very tense."

Allison said requests to interview teachers about the budget cuts and their potential impact will not be granted because teachers "need to be focusing on their students at this point in time."

Media inquiries are being directed to official spokespeople and upper-level administrators.

Allison said Tuesday that he may consider outsourcing certain services, such as custodians and maintenance staff. So far no plan has been proposed.

"There's a lot of work that goes into making those determinations," he said. "But we're always looking at ways in which we can be more efficient."