Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Shelton: Staff identified partial solution for $20 million budget cut

This from H-L:
Fayette County Public Schools Superintendent Tom Shelton said Tuesday that he will recommend cutting two noninstructional days for staff next school year as part of a planned $20 million budget cut.

FCPS Supt.Tom Shelton
Shelton, speaking to reporters after a specially called school board meeting to discuss the budget, said he would ask the board to reduce those days for the 2014-15 budget. The budget will be finalized May 31.

Last month, Shelton said the district had to find ways to cut $20 million, or about 5 percent, from its $433.1 million budget. School employees make up nearly 88 percent of the $433 million budget, Shelton has said. The district has 40,109 students, 5,815 employees and 66 schools and special programs.

The district has hosted forums over the past few weeks to get input from parents, students and staff.
The superintendent said cutting two noninstructional days — times when teachers and staff work, but classes are not in session — was "consistently shared across the board as an idea as opposed to potentially reducing staff."

"That would save us $2 or $3 million dollars," the superintendent said.

Shelton said he would not recommend cutting days when students were scheduled to be in class.
"I would really struggle to recommend to the board that we reduce instructional days because to me that's a direct impact on kids ... reducing days in the classroom doesn't move student achievement forward," he said.

Concerns have been raised at the forums about the district eliminating art, music, and world language programs.

Shelton reiterated Tuesday "that there's never been an intention of eliminating programs. Some programs might be affected as we reallocated resources, but it would be minimal impact."
He said "any kind of staffing cuts would happen through attrition."

Shelton backed away from earlier statements made by district leaders that nontenured teachers would be vulnerable to cuts.

Every year, at least 100 to 200 nontenured teachers are not rehired for a variety of reasons, said Shelton. He said that number might not increase under the budget cuts.

"Our retirements and resignations far exceed the number of staff we need to reduce," said Shelton. "If we lose enough teachers as we expect to through attrition, we won't have to reduce nontenured teachers. It would just be the normal reductions that we see on a regular basis."

Regardless of the cuts that are made, Fayette County School board member Doug Barnett said afterward that he wants the district to close the achievement gap and he wants students to be career- and college-ready.

"We have to be more efficient, we have to be more effective with how we spend our resources and how we use those resources," Barnett said.

Meanwhile, Shelton said he will recommend to the board Monday that the last day of school be June 6, a Friday.

Fayette County has cancelled 13 school days this school year because of snow and ice or cold weather.

Under the current calendar, Shelton said the last day of school would be Wednesday, June 11, as long as the district doesn't miss any more days. But he said he did not think going to school in the second week of June had "real benefit" to students.

Shelton said making June 6 the last day would be contingent on not having any more snow days this school year.

Also, he said "we might have to add some slight time" to the school day to meet minimum state requirements, but it would be less than 15 minutes.

Read more here:


Anonymous said...

So are they asking teachers to cut two days worth of pay out of their contracts next year? That means on average that all teachers in the district will be seeing about about a $500 reduction in pay next year.

More importantly, when are we suppose to be having these folks work on the increasing needs for PD? We are getting ready to embark on a new statewide teacher evaluation system and cutting two days which could be used for training?

I am sure that parents will be glad that their children's various programs may be saved but sounds like teachers are the ones who are going to be paying for them.

Why is it that the solution always has to be cutting teaching positions, reducing pay and adding more PD onto the back of teachers. Maybe, just maybe, schools have over extended beyond their capacity and need to reduce services.

Richard Day said...

Why? For the same reason Willie Sutton robbed banks. It's where the money is.

This is what happens when schools are inadequately funded. I can assure you, this is not Shelton's idea. If he had his way no decision would be necessary. He would have enough money for adequate teacher pay and professional development to boot.

Anonymous said...

Definately not trying to point the finger at Shelton. I do think that FCPS have invested in much more support personnel at the school level than the average county, even at the school level. Many schools in FCPS have full time deans, curriculum coaches, RTI coorindator, behavior interventionalists, social workers, guidance counselors, technology coordinators, etc assigned to their schools that a small county school like mine could never fiscally hope to match, though my enrollment size might be very similar. I understand that there might be slight variations in our student's needs but that is a lot of high end salary support folks compared to many of us beyond the Lexington.