School districts battling low enrollment next year face job cuts

As this strange school year of virtual and in-person learning creeps to a close districts are eyeing potential problems in the coming year. What seems to be a big issue? Well, as life slowly gets back to normal in the pandemic many parents are still unsure about sending their kids back into the school building. So enrollment is low and that could lead to job cuts.  

"We really want our parents out in the community to know we are here. We are open. We will still be following safety protocols next year," explains the Principal at Stafford Early Childhood Center Twyla Hynes. In the Stafford Municipal School District, the school board is considering at least two layoffs and like many districts, that number could increase if student enrollment for the next school year remains low. "Right now my enrollment is about 260, 265 and our target goal is 500," Principal Hynes explains. According to the school board agenda, one of the cuts being considered is the Assistant Principal job at Stafford Early Childhood Center. 

"That’s what we’re battling now. If we don’t get our numbers up we could be possibly looking at some cuts and we definitely would not want that," Hynes says regarding job cuts in general. 

"It would be a tragedy, honestly, to have to lay people off because we can’t get our enrollment up," says Verlincia Prince Stafford MSD’s Parent Liason. "I actually have a student here at the ECC campus as well and I was very apprehensive initially," Prince admits but after doing research and visiting the building. "I’ve been very, very, very impressed with the protocol they’re taking to keep the kids safe".

In fact, the Early Childhood Center which is daycare to Kindergarten had less than five COVID cases this school year.

"We are really trying to encourage parents to allow their children to come back face to face because at this age research shows the students benefit more so from being in the classroom with the teacher," Hynes adds. 

"My son is coming home on Fridays sad that he can’t come back on Saturday and Sunday. He enjoys school so much," smiles Prince.

"We’re really encouraging the parents to let the little ones come back so we can help them build that strong foundation," says Hynes. Stafford MSD also accepts out-of-district students and the Early Childhood Center has a before and after school program from 6:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. where everything from robotics, athletics, dance, chess, and piano lessons are offered. 

The Stafford school board is scheduled to meet at 6:30 p.m. tonight to vote on potential cuts, which, again, can be avoided if student enrollment increases. 

The district is encouraging you to call if you have hesitancy or questions regarding your child's safety.