UPDATE (April 13, 4:21 p.m.) Rockdale County Public Schools plans to eliminate 58 certified positions – down from 69 positions it originally anticipated – due to fewer students and reduced funds from state and local sources.
After natural attrition and retirements, school officials said they anticipate only a few positions may actually need to be cut in the end.
On Thursday, the school board adopted a plan on how to proceed in eliminating positions if necessary, as required by policy. Chief Financial Officer Lee Davis explained, “We did this as a precautionary measure. But the bottom line is we think no one is going to lose a job.”
The school system, which has about 1,200 certified employees and a student enrollment of about15,000 to 16,000, anticipates having about $9.5 million less in funds available for Fiscal Year 2013. That includes austerity cuts from the state and $4.6 million less from local taxes due to an estimated 8 percent drop in the local tax digest.
The school system also estimates it’ll receive $1.1 million less from the state for having fewer students than last year.
In January, the school board was presented with an estimate of 69 certified positions, which includes teachers and administrators, that would need to be reduced. But that estimate was revised to 58 positions. Chief Financial Officer Lee Davis explained the student population usually hits its highest enrollment number around the 60 and 80 day count but this year the spike occurred around the 140 day and 160 day count.
Only about six certified employees did not receive a contract on Friday, excluding performance related cuts, said Lee.
Certified employees have until April 23 to accept or decline the contracts for next year. After that, RCPS will be able to better estimate any cuts that would need to be made.
“This is basically nothing new. This is what was given in January with the allotments
positions,” said RCPS spokesperson Cindy Ball. “After April 23, we analyze for vacancies and we move people according to their certifications.”
Davis said elementary school teacher positions would likely not be cut. The few certified employees that might have their positions eliminated would likely be offered substitute positions instead, to allow those employees to keep their benefits, said Davis.
(April 13, 10:50 a.m.) IN BRIEF: Rockdale County Board of Education adopted a plan to reorganize and eliminate 58 certified employee positions in the coming year due to a reduced number of students, austerity cuts in state funding, and less funding from local taxes due to reduced property values; the school system estimates it will have $9.5 million less available overall. According to information released from an RCPS spokesperson, the position eliminations will include natural attrition and retirements. The board adopted the plan Thursday night in a unanimous 7-0 vote. Check back for more information on this developing story.