BoE eyes loss of 144 teachers, 145 parapros or others
The Fayette County Board of Education in the coming weeks will make a decision on the number of employee positions that will be reduced because of a budget shortfall. The board faces the requirement to trim millions from the 2013—2014 budget the begins in July.
That number currently sits at approximately 310 jobs that are being proposed for elimination at the end of the school year in June.
Assistant Superintendent of Business and Personnel Management Tom Gray at the March 25 called meeting said the proposed 309.69 job reductions include the loss of 246.69 FTEs (full-time equivalents) through elimination and another 63 through the closure of four schools.
The breakdown showed a total systemwide reduction of 143.69 certified positions such as teachers, assistant principals and counselors for a savings of $7.8 million, 145 classified positions such as parapros and secretaries for a savings of $2.5 million and 20.5 jobs in central office and in support positions for a savings of $1.2 million.
Along with the $3.8 million saved by the school closures, the total savings through reductions will save approximately $15.5 million next school year.
The school system currently employs 2,576 staff. The proposed reductions of approximately 309 FTEs would decrease that number to 2,267. If approved by the school board in the coming weeks in preparation for next year’s budget, the reductions will follow a similar number of job losses over the past few years due to falling state and local revenues that fund nearly all school system expenses.
Gray noted that the number of actual staff affected in the FTE reduction has not been determined since the school system employs full-time, half-time, part-time and job share staff.
A breakdown of the proposal showed a loss of 158.12 FTEs at elementary schools with 64.12 of those positions coming in the form of certified staff and 94 as classified staff. Interim Superintendent Dan Colwell said the larger number of reductions in the elementary schools, a total of 30 certified and 33 classified employees, is due to the closure of three of those schools, the expected decrease in elementary school enrollment next year and the teacher-student ratio that is currently the smallest in the state.
Middle schools are proposed to lose 68.58 FTEs, including 45.58 certified positions and 23 certified positions. High schools under the proposal would lose 61.99 employees. Of those, 33.99 positions are certified and 28 are classified.
Viewed systemwide, elementary schools this year employ 693.14 certified staff and 313.5 classified staff. Those numbers next year are proposed to shrink to 629.05 certified staff and 219.5 classified employees.
The school system’s middle schools currently employ 394.48 certified staff and 101.94 classified staff. The proposal would have certified staff decreasing to 348.9 and classified staff decreasing to 78.94.
And at the county’s high schools, certified staff currently number 519.34 with 166.5 classified employees. Under the proposal those numbers would decrease to 485.35 and 138.5, respectively.
The reductions in central office will include two director level positions, the human resources director, the purchasing agent, a technical position, a social worker, three special education positions, two secretaries and three facilities maintenance positions. Some of the central office positions have already been eliminated or consolidated into other positions to save additional funds for the current school year that ends in June. As for the reductions in support staff, those include one transportation department administrator and five bus drivers.
Still other proposed reductions include the elimination of fifth-grade band and orchestra, eliminating contracted orchestra instruction and eliminating assistant band directors at each high school, though the band directors at the middle schools will assist at the high school level. Those reductions would save $320,000.
Other program reductions that would save approximately $80,000 include reducing softball and wrestling at middle schools while the hourly non-benefit parking lot attendants will be paid entirely through parking lot fees.
The school board when making its decision on job reductions will also be faced with building a significant amount of money into the 2013-2014 budget to account for a fund balance to the tune of several million dollars. Gray said the school board should establish a goal over the next two or more years of having approximately 10 percent in reserve.