Ahead of potential budget constraints and amid an ongoing departmental shakeup, the Tennessee Department of Education is set to eliminate 43 positions, 26 that are filled with employees.
“In the current budget climate, it’s unlikely that the Department of Education will be receiving any additional funds,” said Kelli Gauthier, spokeswoman for the department.
“At the time, we have a pretty ambitious strategic plan that we’re charged with executing,” she said. “In order to make sure that we meet those goals, we have to have our resources allocated in a way that makes sure we do that.”
In September, state Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman released a new strategic plan with four broad goals: expand children’s access to effective teachers; families’ access to quality schools; educators’ access to resources and best practices; and the public’s access to information and data.
Huffman cited Tennessee’s Race to the Top law, which has guided the state’s education changes since its approval.
“The goals we set out in Race to the Top are our department’s goals, and we will work diligently to become the fastest-improving state in the nation,” he said.
Gauthier said cuts are set to go into effect 90 days after Jan 4. She said the 26 job cuts along with the open position eliminations cross several of the education department’s divisions.
Citing state law and seniority requirements, Gaither said 70 education department employees received notification their jobs could be in jeopardy, though the actual number of affected workers is fewer.