Staff Cuts Possible In School Budget

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 24, 2012

By Beth Cassidy
Enterprise Record

The board of education unanimously adopted last week a budget draft plan for 2012-13 that will likely include staff reductions.
Superintendent Dr. Darrin Hartness told the board, “We anticipate receiving approximately $35 million in state funds for the next school year. As soon as we receive the state initial allotment, we are required to identify $2.2 million to return to the state (discretionary reduction). Since 80 percent of our budget is used for salaries and benefits, we will be required once again to reduce the number of employees who serve our children. To return the $2.2 million, we will have to return positions.”
What those positions will be and whether cuts will be direct or through not filling openings is not clear.
Hartness said last month he hoped the system would be able to retain as many of its 900 employees as possible, but that cuts to the custodial staff were being considered. There will be one position eliminated at the central office.
Keeping teachers in the classroom, maintaining the quality of education, and keeping class sizes manageable are top priorities, Hartness said. One million dollars from the fund balance will be used to help feed those priorities.
The board adopted, at the request of county commissioners, a zero-based budget, a process that began with a staff analysis, looking at every position within the system, and continued with examining operating expenses and …