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Teachers biggest chunk of USD 410 proposed cuts

Staff writer

With expected cuts in state aid and declining enrollment, USD 410 needs to reduce its budget by $540,000 for 2011-12.

Superintendent Steve Noble presented recommendations to the board of education Monday. The recommendations originated with a 16-person advisory committee and Noble.

The largest portion of the cuts — $365,752 — is in employee salaries and benefits. Of that, $247,926 is because of a reduction of 5.8 full-time equivalent certified teaching positions in the areas of middle and high school social studies, language arts, and math, vocal and instrumental music, and elementary school art.

High school social science teacher Jim Robb, kindergarten teacher Charlene Driggers, and elementary school choir and band teacher Shirley Baltzer accepted early retirement incentives approved in March.

Any involuntary reduction in teaching staff must be done in accordance with rules in the teachers’ master contract. When a position is identified for reduction, the district is to reduce it first by attrition. If that fails, then tenured teachers in the position receive priority. If that is insufficient, the district uses a points system. Teachers receive points for years of service in the district, education, and good evaluations.

After the meeting, Noble said he would urge the board to delay making decisions on layoffs until the May 20 deadline. A lot can happen in the last few months of a school year, he said.

About 76 percent of the school’s operating budget is for staff expenses, Noble said.

“It’s unfortunate that half of it (budget cuts) comes from people,” board member Eddie Weber said. “But that’s the way it is. We can’t fix this with a Band-Aid.”

The recommendations also include reducing transportation, maintenance, and custodial expenses by $26,300; activities expenses by $12,547; curriculum expenses by $13,700; district-level expenses by $11,500; board of education expenses by $1,800; adult learning expenses by $9,250; utilities expenses by $36,000; technology expenses by $15,950; and equipment and supplies expenses by $12,430.

Among the noteworthy recommended cuts are elimination of one custodial position, $20,857; elimination of an instrumental music aide position, $3,718; elimination of the north after-school activity bus route, $15,000; elimination of $3,975 in budgets for national teaching conference; and reduction of budget for natural gas by $20,000. Noble also recommended moving $15,000 budgeted for carpet replacement to the capital outlay budget.

The recommendation also includes reducing reserves by $34,771.

Last modified April 14, 2011

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