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Almost all states have statutes directly addressing the abolition of teaching or other jobs in schools without fault on the part of individual employees, a practice commonly referred to as reduction in force (RIF). The grounds for RIF, the order in which employees are released or can “bump” others from their jobs, and call-back rights are matters of state law subject to modifications by school board policies and operative collective bargaining agreements. Unless school boards modify their RIF policies pursuant to the agreements in effect with their employees, state statutes control.

State laws typically permit RIFs due to declines in student enrollments, financial exigencies, elimination of jobs or programs, and board discretion. While courts ordinarily defer to the discretion of school boards on the need for ...

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