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School positions may be eliminated

by Larry S. Chowning

At a budget work session Tuesday, school superintendent Rusty Fairheart made recommendations for ways to cut $215,500 from the proposed FY10 school budget. 

This still leaves a $205,000 shortfall that Fairheart says can only come by cutting personnel.

The proposed savings will come from a $60,000 reduction in technology purchase services; $40,000 by eliminating a custodial position; a total of $12,000 by making the psychologist and social worker 10-month positions; and $30,000 by eliminating a half-time non-core instructional position.

Also, $8,500 by eliminating a half-time para-professional position and $22,000 by cutting a half-time clerical position.

Fairheart recommended cutting coaching supplements by a total of $7,000.  He’s recommending only funding three coaches per sport and cutting football from six to five coaches. He also recommended making $40,000 in cuts to line items such as supplies.

This also means no pay raises for teachers, administrators or any other school employees. 

However, Fairheart wants to make sure there are enough funds in the budget to cover any increases in health insurance premiums. “We don’t want teachers to have to pick up those increases and go home with less money in their paychecks than they made this year,” he said.

Also, all department line items, including fuel and utilities, will be level-funded or deficit-funded.

School enrollment for 2009-10 is estimated at 1210 students, down from the current 1240 students. This drop in enrollment will add to the decrease in state aid. 
Fairheart indicated the only way the other $205,000 can be eliminated is to cut teaching positions. 

School board member Jim Goforth said he saw a report from the State Department of Education that contended Middlesex would have to eliminate 15 positions to cover the state cuts.

Fairheart said he does not believe the school system will have to eliminate that many positions, but he made it clear the school system had to cut $205,000, and the only way this could be done is through eliminating positions. “This will definitely impact students in the classroom,” he said.

The school board will hold a budget work session for the public on Tuesday, Jan. 27, at 7 p.m. in the St. Clare Walker Middle School auditorium.

posted 01.21.2009

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