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Keystone Central School District Lays Off Teachers

River with bridge
Min Xian

The Keystone Central School District is laying off 34 teachers at the end of the school year. WPSU’s Anne Danahy reports the district says the decision was made in response to declining enrollment.

Interim superintendent Alan Lonoconus said the Keystone Central School District was overstaffed. In the past six years, the number of students has gone down about 10 percent.

That decline led the school board to approve laying off 34 teachers effective June 4.

“It’s probably one of the darker moments in my 38-year career,” Lonoconus said.

But, Lonoconus thinks the district will be able to prove that it has an educational program that meets students’ needs and the state requirements.

“Change is difficult for a lot of people, and it will take a little time," he said. "But, I’ve been involved in these things in the past, and once we get school up and running next year and the students are in their classes, they’ll see in time that it was the right decision.”

The school district includes municipalities in Clinton, Centre and Potter counties. The layoffs — technically furloughs — are based on teachers’ seniority and area of certification.

Lonoconus said the decision was not driven by the budget. But, it will cut costs. The district estimates savings up to $2 million.

Earlier in the year, the administration asked the teachers union to agree to a pay freeze. It said no.

Anne Danahy has been a reporter at WPSU since fall 2017. Before crossing over to radio, she was a reporter at the Centre Daily Times in State College, Pennsylvania, and she worked in communications at Penn State. She is married with cats.