Cuts to Raytown schools cause 20 layoffs that will affect 700 students

RAYTOWN, Mo. -- Next school year may be different for 700 kids and the 20 employees who help them in the Raytown School District.

The district told Title 1A Instructional Assistants on Friday that their positions were being eliminated effective next fall.

One Raytown mom told FOX4's Sherae Honeycutt these positions make a huge difference for her daughter.

Pamela's daughter has dyslexia. She's in the third grade but reads at a first grade level. She is one of hundreds of children who gets special one-on-one attention with an instructional assistant.

"If she doesn't have that extra, it will affect her a lot because she won't have that extra 30 minutes," Pamela said. "My understanding is that she will still have that attention in the classroom, but as far as going outside of the classroom -- and that's the most important, so this is really important."

According to the U.S. Department of Education, Title 1A funding goes to, "local educational agencies (LEAs) and schools with high numbers or high percentages of children from low-income families to help ensure that all children meet challenging state academic standards."

Raytown Quality Schools said the reason for the cuts is 500 fewer students enrolled in the district over the past three years. They say the loss cost them $1.7 million in state revenue and another $700,000 in state funding.

"I might have to get her a tutor," Pamela said. "I may have to get her a tutor because she's still going to need that extra help. With dyslexia she'll need the help."

The district said they are hoping to find new positions for the assistants in Raytown schools. The district released the following statement:

"Over the past three years, the Raytown C-2 School District has seen a decline in enrollment by over 500 students. The decrease in student enrollment will lead to an anticipated loss of over $1.7 million in state revenue for the 2019-2020 school year. This loss in funding comes in addition to a loss of over $700,000 in state public placement funds over the same three-year period.

"A decline in revenue is at the core of the District’s decision to cut the Title I Instructional Assistant position for the 2019-2020 school year as the District is faced with the need to “right-size” staff to match student enrollment. Last year, the District began making cuts to certified staff including teachers, coordinators, and administrators, and support staff including technology and operations employees.

"Cutting Title I Instructional Assistants and redesigning the reading program at elementary schools will allow the District to reallocate Title I funds, moving some supports to secondary schools to meet the critical needs of students. It is the desire of the District to support employees affected by the change throughout the process and retain as many staff members as possible.

"Therefore, early notification is a key part in allowing both parties the time to find placement in other positions in the District as they become available. The work of the District and its employees will continue to focus on the collective responsibility to provide an exceptional educational experience to all students."

Pamela said she hopes the district can come up with a solution that will help her daughter get the help she needs on a daily basis to keep up with her school work.

"They're doing an excellent job right now," Pamela said. "Now we have to look into the future."

The district said the Title 1A funds they still receive will go toward secondary education assistants and special education Title 1A positions.

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