The planned layoff of nearly 1,100 employees in the Dallas school district began Thursday, with the cutting of 150 non-contract employees and the elimination of 100 vacant positions.
Layoffs in the district, which faces an $84 million budget shortfall, will continue at the end of next week when 550 teachers plus administrators and other employees will lose their jobs.
"We're very concerned about people's well-being," Superintendent Michael Hinojosa said. "We expect that everyone today was treated professionally."
Aimee Bolender, president of Alliance AFT teachers' organization, said in a story in The Dallas Morning News that many teachers are scared.
"They're almost beyond hysterical, and there's no way it's not affecting the classroom," Bolender said. "If a person is worried about whether or not they're going to be employed, that's a number one priority."
More than 400 of the lost jobs are expected to include teachers in the core subject areas of math, science, social studies and English. An additional 500 employees -- such as teacher aides, hall monitors and clerks -- will also lose their jobs.
Teachers with low seniority and poor evaluations are the likeliest to get laid off, Bolender has said.
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The staff cuts are expected to save about $30 million, with an additional $38 million coming from budget cuts in other areas, officials said. But that still leaves the district about $15 million short, and administrators have not yet said how they plan to cover the gap.
The Dallas school district is the nation's 12th largest, with more than 160,000 students.