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School District Layoffs Could Start Today

By Kevin Lavery, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – The head of the St. Louis Teachers and School Related Personnel Union says she believes employees slated for termination could start receiving their notices as early as Monday.

Mary Armstrong met Sunday with the union's rank and file to update them on the status of meetings the union held last week with St. Louis school officials.

Changes to employee medical insurance were removed from the new district budget, and will be brought up in contract talks. Armstrong says a resolution the union passed at yesterday's meeting reflects those concerns. "They want us to make sure we get the best package possible as it deals with wages, working conditions and benefits," Armstrong said.

"And also to see if we can preserve those jobs of the members that we've lost."

The budget does not call for any classroom teachers to lose their jobs. Armstrong says the union is still waiting on a full list of other members who will be laid off.

The union is preparing to help displaced members find other positions based on seniority. Armstrong also says her members are unhappy with the direction the district is taking.

"They were upset, not ready to go back to work, feeling threatened about their benefits, and the whole demeanor in which the board is approaching this whole process."

The union is currently working without a contract. Armstrong says they'll work to present a package to the school board in the next two weeks.