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Utah Latest State to Target LIFO Layoffs

A bill awaiting Utah Gov. Gary R. Herbert's signature would do away with layoffs in the order of reverse seniority, otherwise known as last-in-first-out or "LIFO" layoffs.

Earlier versions of the bill were more specific about prioritizing teachers deemed low-performing for cuts, but the one that actually made it to the desk of the governor, a Republican, merely bars districts from using seniority as the default criteria for layoffs. Instead, districts would be required to consider employee performance evaluations and schools' "personnel needs" in making such decisions.

Wondering what other states have done away with LIFO policies? Arizona has barred them since 2009; Colorado and Oklahoma lawmakers did away with them last year; and in the District of Columbia, local code and a new contract require performance as a major factor, though seniority can be considered. On the the other hand, 14 states require LIFO policies at the moment. The New Teacher Project, a critic of LIFO policies, has a graphic about all this in a recent policy brief.

The fate of LIFO is an immediate issue in New York state, where a bunch of different proposals are floating around, but none has yet been approved by the legislature, as I reported in this week's edition of Education Week.

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