EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

May 26, 2013

Riley cuts 25 office jobs

Most can get teaching, other positions in system

LAWRENCE — One out of five employees of the Lawrence Public Schools’ central office staff won’t be working there after the academic school year ends on June 30.

In a major shake-up of the LPS administration’s headquarters at 255 Essex St., Superintendent/Receiver Jeffrey C. Riley announced plans to eliminate 25 positions while consolidating nine departments into five.

He said the changes, which had been anticipated for months, will save the school district $1.3 million — money that will be invested in staff and resources at the school level.

“We felt like we were too top heavy at central office and that the resources were better utilized down in the classrooms where the kids are,” Riley said.

“These are certainly not all easy or painless changes, but they are what’s needed to prioritize schools as the focus of every decision, every day. It should have been obvious to everyone long before now, but central office works for the schools — not the other way around,” he said.

Riley met individually Friday with central office staff to brief them on the reorganization and the 25 positions which will be eliminated. He stressed that most of the affected staff will have the opportunity to apply for other positions in the school district. He said he would provide them with more details next week.

“Some folks have rights to a teaching job in the classroom. If they were in one of the unions, they still have an opportunity to apply for a teaching position,” Riley said.

Ten of the people affected will fill existing teaching or nursing vacancies in schools while seven others will move to support roles across the school district.

Three of the job losses involve layoffs, four employees will retire and one chose to resign, he said.

“Of the three layoffs, two are management and one is a teacher that doesn’t have professional status,” Riley said, declining to elaborate on the position and the employee involved.

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