GILBERT, Ariz. - Gilbert Public Schools laid off more than 150 teachers nearly two months ago. Now the district says it needs most of those teachers and are rehiring more than half of the laid off employees.
Back in March, GPS said a large drop in student enrollment is what compelled the district to lay off 152 teachers. Now, the district says they're losing a large amount of teachers and they need to hire some of the people they had laid off.
GPS officials confirm the district has offered to re-hire 90 of the 152 teachers that were given layoff notices in March. So far, 54 teachers have accepted.
In March, dozens of emotional teachers and parents spoke out, pleading with the school board to spare teachers' jobs. The seemingly sudden change in circumstances has many baffled.
"Student to teacher ratio.. there were too many teachers for students. So unless the enrollment has drastically increased all of a sudden, it's very confusing as to why we suddenly need 90 teachers back," said Lisa Del Rio, a parent.
Dawn Antestenis, a spokeswoman for GPS told FOX 10, "Additional positions became available due to a number of resignations as the school year comes to an end, and unanticipated retirements."
"We're glad that teachers are getting their jobs back and just moving forward, we hope things are handled in a more kind way to the teachers, because what happened to them in March, their lives were upended," said Del Rio.
District officials say the rehired teachers will keep their seniority status and pay grade.
One Gilbert teacher, who did not want to be identified, tells FOX 10 many rehired teachers were moved to different schools, different grades, and different subjects.
Officials say the COVID-19 pandemic is one factor contributing to the higher number of teacher resignations and retirements this year.
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