The tough economy has claimed teachers and support staff from the Phoenix-Talent School District, where employees were told late this week there would be layoffs for next year, according to a school board member.

The tough economy has claimed teachers and support staff from the Phoenix-Talent School District, where employees were told late this week there would be layoffs for next year, according to a school board member.

Loretta Nordquist said she did not know how many workers were handed pink slips, though she did say the layoffs touched teachers and support staff.

"It became clear that we had to reduce staff for next year," Nordquist said.

Other district officials could not be reached for comment late Friday.

Nordquist said the district has offered an early retirement bonus of $12,000 for longtime school employees considering retiring this year. So far, "four or five" people have accepted the bonus, she said.

"That offer is still open and we hope more people take advantage of it, so we can save more jobs," she said.

The nearly 3,000-student district is bracing for steep cuts expected in its $23 million annual budget for the 2009-2011 biennium. Gov. Ted Kulongoski has warned of a $4 billion to $5 billion shortfall in state revenues and requested all state departments to prepare budgets that have been cut by 30 percent.

Reach reporter Chris Conrad at 776-4471; or e-mail cconrad@mailtribune.com.