What Does It Mean to Be Unassigned?

Dear Colleagues,

PPS has begun the staffing process for next year by announcing the reduction of at least 120 teaching positions. This week, educators in your building may be learning that they are “unassigned.” We know this can be stressful to say the least, and want to make sure you know how this process works and what your rights are.   

First and foremost, an unassignment is NOT the same as a layoff.  

  • An unassignment occurs when there are more educators assigned to a building than there is FTE, or when there is no longer a position in a building for which an educator is qualified. Unassigned educators must be placed in jobs before the District can hire from outside. 
  • A layoff occurs when there are more educators than there are available jobs across the entire District. Due to the number of retirements and resignations the District is expecting this year, they say they do not expect a layoff. 

To help understand the process, PAT has produced two FAQs that help members each year. FAQ#1 and FAQ#2 on our Know Your Contract web page, address the process, but probably not the emotional impact of the District’s actions.

Next week there will be two PPS Informational Meetings for Unassigned Educators, on Wednesday, March 9 at 5:00pm and Thursday, March 10 at 4:30pm. The meetings will be virtual, and the links are being sent out by PPS. PAT staff will also be at the meetings to help answer any questions.

More about the Staffing Process

Each year, PPS informs principals of the total amount of Full Time Equivalent (FTE) positions for their building for the following year. Once they receive those numbers, the principals match their FTE with the District program requirements and their individual building program goals. If there are more people working in the building than there is FTE for the following year, some educators are unassigned. 

When an educator is unassigned from a building, they may apply in the internal postings round for openings in their licensure. In a typical year, about 150 – 200 educators resign/retire, and those positions may be posted in the internal round for unassigned members to transfer into after an interview. 

If an educator is not selected in the internal round of interviews, PPS HR begins an assisted placement process that occurs before the external round starts. In that process, educators who are still unassigned are placed in open spots. It is only after the assisted placement process is completed that either layoffs are determined OR the external process begins. In the event of a layoff, it is not necessarily the same educators who are unassigned who are subject to layoff. 

This year, due to high expected attrition, PAT does not believe there will be many (if any) layoffs, but we cannot see into the future or make that guarantee.