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Press Release

AEA Statement on Gilbert Public Schools' Decision to Lay Off 152 Teachers

AEA stands in solidarity with our local affiliate the Gilbert Education Association and the more than 150 teachers who recently received Reduction In Force (RIF) notices from Gilbert Public Schools.
Published: March 29, 2021

It is disappointing that the district has decided to sever the employment of these teachers who have dedicated their careers to educating our students and risked their health and lives to work during the pandemic. Arizona already faces a severe teacher shortage due to decades of neglect and underfunding from the state. If Governor Ducey had kept his promises to hold school districts harmless during the pandemic these RIFs could have been avoided. Instead the governor and a majority of state legislators continue to neglect our students and schools by focusing on undermining and delaying new education funding like the Invest in Education Act and enacting additional tax cuts. We risk seeing more districts faced with similar decisions as in Gilbert if lawmakers continue down this path of divesting public education in favor of tax cuts.

AEA believes any district looking to make these difficult decisions include teachers in the discussion and realize that laying off teachers is a short-sighted solution that will cause long-term problems for the community. We need to be ready to welcome our students back to our classrooms in the Fall. Our students deserve a caring and quality teacher in the classroom. RIFs will make that impossible as districts will end up scrambling to fill positions at the last minute. There are other ways to address budget shortfalls than letting go the very people we need educating our students.


Keeping the Promise of Quality Public Education

With more than 20,000 members, the Arizona Education Association (AEA) is the labor union for public school employees in Arizona. AEA members are teachers, community college professors, counselors, speech pathologists, bus drivers, secretaries, retired educators and student teachers and they belong to more than 150 local affiliates across Arizona.