Ashland will lay off teachers and other staff before the coming school year, the district has announced.

Ashland will lay off teachers and other staff before the coming school year, the district has announced.

The school board will release specific numbers of teachers and other staff who are losing their jobs at a community meeting at 7 tonight in the Helman Elementary library, said Board Chairman Mat Marr.

Layoff notices for the upcoming school year went out to Ashland teachers Friday as the state released its latest economic forecast of an $850 million shortfall for this fiscal year and a deficit that will top $2.5 billion for the 2009-11 biennium.

A second group of staff members received notices that they may be laid off in the future.

"Every great staff member that we have to let go is a tragedy both to the district and in their lives, and unfortunately there are going to be more cuts based on this forecast," Marr said. "I don't think you can overstate how bad things are."

The district won't know exactly how many more positions to cut until the Legislature develops the budget for the next biennium, due in June, he said. An additional revenue forecast is expected in May.

The district finalized a five-day cut for this year that extended spring break for an extra week, although the pay cut for teachers has not been approved by the Southern Oregon Bargaining Council, which oversees most teachers' associations in the valley, including the Ashland Education Association.

— Ashland Daily Tidings