Reduction in force (RIF) plagues Tualatin High School staff


Photo by Akash Balakumar of history teacher Jessica Buckle who is one of many teachers across the district affected by the recent lay-offs.

Ava Wittman, Co-Editor-In-Chief

As many students have heard, TTSD is facing large budget cuts, which they say are due to displaced or missing students in the years coming off of the pandemic. These cuts have been actualized in the removal of nearly 50 teaching positions across the district, most in the form of retirement or temporary positions that will not be filled next year, and 19 in the form of direct lay-offs. As of May 22, TTSD has recalled 11 of the 19 laid off; however, they will not be reinstated to their original positions, but have instead been offered jobs with the virtual academy, within different buildings, or in a new position within their same building. These layoffs and the other 30 lost teaching positions will culminate in an increase in class size and work load for the remaining teachers. 

While these statistics seem to cover the entirety of the story all on their own, this is an issue affecting Tualatin students, Tualatin teachers, administrators, staff and parents alike that demands a more intrapersonal approach; The Wolf is grateful that history teacher Jessica Buckle, who has been laid off by the district, was kind enough to sit down with us to give a more human overview of the situation. 

Buckle explained to us why this was such a difficult transition. 

“It’s extremely hard. I mean teaching isn’t like any other job. Most teachers put their heart and soul into this. You literally put your life on the line. You’re not a first responder, but you have to be prepared for things like school shootings. You have to be a trauma counselor for kids who have been impacted by COVID, by things at home. You have to be there as kids are growing up, and as they’re changing, and maybe finding out different things about their identity, and maybe they’re not supported at home, and [you have to] help kids grow on top of teaching whatever content. To get cut from that isn’t like your 9-to-5, where you punch-in punch-out and think, ‘Okay, I’ll just go and find another job.’”

This stress is compounded by the fact that the teachers who were laid off found out in the past few weeks, meaning they still had more than a month left in school year after finding out they would not be returning next year. 

“You have six weeks where you still have to show up and face kids every day without knowing how you’re going to pay your bills or how you’re going to take care of your family. It’s incredibly challenging and stressful to be happy and upbeat and positive and give your best to your students because you know that they deserve that while also having that inner turmoil.”

Despite the difficulty, Buckle manages to maintain an incredibly positive and inspiring outlook. 

“Throughout my life, I’ve been through a lot of challenges, and I always try to focus on the good and what it creates in me. I am the person I am because of those things.” 

And on a final note, Buckle left us with her advice and hope for the district as we move forward. 

“Hopefully we can come together as a community and get through this, because Tualatin isn’t any one person. It’s a community, and we have to be there for each other, so I hope that whoever is left after the dust settles, that they are there for each other and work through this.”