Janesville54.8°

Up to 50 laid-off teachers may get reprieve

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FRANK J. SCHULTZ
April 28, 2011
— About 50 of the 125 teachers who received layoff notices recently are likely to remain employed by the Janesville School District.

Superintendent Karen Schulte said Wednesday that the school board’s actions Tuesday night would allow her to keep some of the counselors, librarians, learning-support teachers and others who received the notices.


Schulte said she doesn’t yet know which teachers would be retained.


“There isn’t one group more important than another. They’re all important to us. I look at it more like, how many of each group—or even skill sets—can we bring back,” Schulte said.


Schulte reiterated a statement she made Sunday, that she’s looking are redesigning some positions and make them non-union positions, and the people filling them would pay their pension contributions, as the other non-represented staff are.


Schulte met with her leadership team Wednesday morning to start the process of filling in the details of what those positions would look like as part of an overall plan for delivering education to students with a reduced staff next fall.


Schulte plans to present that plan to the school board at its Tuesday, May 10, meeting.


The board Tuesday voted to take $3.4 million out of district reserves to help close its $13.4 million budget gap.


The board has approved most but not all the budget cuts needed to close the gap.


If the remaining 75 staff members who received layoff notices were cut, the district would save about $4.37 million.


The board still must decide whether to cut:


-- Textbooks, $200,000.


-- 10 secretaries, clerks and aids, $210,000.


-- Nonrepresented staff, including administrative positions, $449,000.


-- Buildings and grounds maintenance contracted services and capital improvements, $1 million.


Even with those cuts, a $600,000 gap would remain, Schulte said.


The buildings and grounds budget might be the most difficult vote. It would leave just $162,000. The cut would eliminate a longstanding contract for preventive boiler maintenance that cost $105,000 this year.


Maintenance supervisor Dave Leeder told the board Tuesday that some boilers are original equipment, and if that expense were cut, “That would hurt, it really would.”


Meanwhile, Schulte is looking at a projected budget gap of $5 million for the 2012-13 school year, and she said she doesn’t want to go through another year with large numbers of layoffs.


OTHER BUSINESS

Other items from Tuesday’s school board meeting:


-- The $3.4 million the board voted to take out of its Fund 10 balance is more than its own policy allows, according to district CFO Keith Pennington. Pennington told the board that he estimates the policy would allow only $3.25 million, so the board will need to vote to change its policy. Two of those who voted against using the $3.4 million—Greg Ardrey and Peter Severson—indicated that their main concern was the board policy.


-- Cuts to middle school athletics included eliminating one sport, tennis. No other sport in middle or high schools has been eliminated. Officials said Beloit, the middle schoolers’ only opponents other than themselves, don’t offer middle school tennis. The cost for tennis is about $2,500 for the coaches’ salaries, officials said, plus transportation.


-- Middle schoolers in some cases will be playing fewer games, officials said, although they did not specify which sports. The middle school cuts and fee increases passed 8-0.


-- The possibility of volunteer coaches to fill in for the assistant coaches that are being cut was suggested at the meeting.



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