More than 60 school jobs on the block
MINDEN, Nev. – A $4.3 million reduction in general fund expenditures for the Douglas County School District’s tentative 2011-12 budget translates into the potential loss of more than 60 jobs.
On Friday, Superintendent Lisa Noonan explained how those positions recommended for elimination span multiple departments. However, she emphasized that affected employees may be called back pending the outcome of the Nevada Legislature. She also emphasized that the tentative budget, which will be presented to school board members 6:15 p.m. Tuesday at the Kahle Community Center in Stateline, is subject to change under the direction of the board.
“Just because the tentative budget is approved doesn’t mean we’re disregarding public input,” Noonan said.
She said the board may give direction or provide different options in preparation of the final May budget. When it comes to state funding being restored, Noonan is cautiously optimistic.
“I don’t think everybody will get called back,” she said. “I can’t imagine the Legislature will bring us all the way back up, but I am hoping for some relief.”
Based on this year’s weighted enrollment of 6,117 pupils, the district’s 2011-12 tentative budget shows approximately $49.5 million in total general fund expenditures, including an unreserved ending fund balance of nearly $1.9 million.
In comparison, this year’s general fund totaled about $53.8 million in expenditures, roughly a $4.3 million difference.
Noonan said nearly 50 certified positions, including one assistant principal position, will be eliminated in the new budget. That number entails 3.5 elementary physical education teaching positions, three elementary art and music teaching positions, 22.5 elementary teaching positions, and 12 teaching positions at the secondary level.
The reduction in classroom teachers is the result of both raising class sizes and declining enrollment, Noonan said. She said a little more than a dozen additional teaching positions are included in the cuts are to be reinstated through one-shot federal funding as part of the EduJobs bill passed last summer, of which the district still has an estimated $881,000.
In the district’s classified departments, the new budget will mean the elimination of three security guard positions, 6.5 elementary computer aide positions, and three elementary librarian positions.
“In classified, it’s a reduction of hours, which for some means jobs,” Noonan said. “Reduced hours will impact some custodians and secretaries. Teachers’ aides will be impacted as well.”
In the central district office in Minden, the new budget means leaving unfilled or consolidating at least two human resources positions, allocating half an assistant superintendent to the ASPIRE alternative education program, moving one secretary and custodial hours to the ASPIRE program as well, and cutting a substitute coordinator.
“We’re already a pretty small district office,” Noonan said. “One point five district administrators are paid out of grants, so we can’t save money cutting those jobs.”
Noonan said the ASPIRE program, a priority of the board, was allocated about $122,000 in the new budget to finance the program’s relocation this fall to the old Sierra Lutheran High School building off Buckeye Road in Minden.
“We’re already getting calls from outside the county by people interested in the school,” Noonan said. “That will help bring dollars to the district.”
Noonan wrapped up her third public workshop on the budget Friday night.
“Nobody likes any of these things,” she said. “But consistent objections have been over art, music and P.E. at the elementary level. They’re very proud of what they have done. We had a kindergartner speak who said that those things were his favorite part of school. Adults also have commented how those programs light up young minds.”
Noonan said her recommendations shouldn’t be interpreted as devaluing programs.
“As much as anyone, I hope we can find alternative solutions or additional dollars,” she said.