School Board Constructs Plan to Save 5 Custodians
The Board of Education will vote on a revised "cuts" plan at its May 17 meeting.
The Board of Education will vote next Thursday on a revised cuts plan that aims to fill a $450,000 hole in the school district's budget that was introduced last month when the board voted to retain 13 in-house custodians who were set to be replaced by contractors.
The new plan would save the jobs of some, but not all of the custodians who had originally been on the district's chopping block.
Superintendent Bruce Watson said all eight night custodian positions at the high school would still be privatized if the new proposal were to pass. The move would result in six layoffs, since one of those positions is already vacant and another is a retirement that wouldn't be filled.
To recoup the money spent to retain the five other custodial positions, the district will refrain from hiring four of the 11 proposed teacher and staff positions included in this year's budget, and postpone part of the bleacher repair at Sasso Field.
Watson said positions the district will no longer be able to hire if the new plan is approved include a speech teacher, a remedial kindergarten teacher, a social worker and an ESL teacher.
The elimination of the remedial kindergarten teacher position will force the postponement of the district's planned remedial full-day kindergarten program, which had been intended to bridge the gap for the growing number of kindergarten students who enter school academically behind their peers.
The alternative cuts plan was crafted following April's school board meeting where an outpouring of public support for the district’s custodians prompted board members to freeze expansion of the custodial outsourcing that began last year and look elsewhere to make up the money saved by privatizing custodial services.
Having already approved an $86 million budget in March, the board needed to find a way to make up the $450,000 that custodial outsourcing was expected to save the district.
Due to the state of the economy, Watson said continued privatization of the district's custodial force may be necessary in the future.
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