As more and more schools’ budgets are being further reduced, reductions in force (RIF) continue to be explored by many districts. A couple more questions frequently asked are worth reviewing once again this year.
How can our district make a decision whether to RIF or not for next school year when we aren’t certain about the upcoming financial situation?
That has been a problem for many districts. If you’re hopeful you can maintain current staffing levels but you still have a fair amount of uncertainty about the coming year’s finances at the time the decision needs to be made, your district could implement “preventive” RIFs to cover itself.
“Preventive RIF” is a term of art. In reality, the district is implementing a regular RIF, but at the same time it lets the affected staff members know that if the money is there when all is said and done, some or all of the reduced staff will be called back to work.
The risk of doing this, of course, is that those people will find other jobs and will not be available if called back. Right now, while we have a major teacher shortage, that’s a fairly large risk for some positions. However, by going ahead and implementing the RIF that way, at least in the case of teachers, the district has made sure that it is not contractually bound to pay someone a year’s salary it may not be able to afford to pay.