14 Jun Staff Reductions Proposed for Charlotte Schools (MI)

June 14, 2010

By: Rachel Greco
Source: Lansing State Journal

School officials will consider budget cuts and staff reductions on Monday, June 14.

The Charlotte Board of Education may vote on the 2010-2011 fiscal year budget this week – which includes the reduction of what equates to 13 full-time staff positions.

Among the list of cuts is the equivalent of over four full-time teachers, two guidance staff positions and a media specialist within the school district.

Don Sovey, Charlotte schools’ associate superintendent for business, said the district hopes to save $816,157 with the proposed personnel changes and reductions.

Officials do not know yet if the proposed reductions will result in layoffs.

Some, said Sovey, will likely be achieved thanks to retirements.

"That’s what’s being looked at right now," he explained. "There will likely be layoffs before the district settles on this."
Funding uncertain

How many layoffs are unknown and Sovey said even after the new budget is approved that still may be undecided.

Officials have been working through the new budget, which must be in place by July, for the past five months.

Sovey said staff expect a cut of $150 per student in the state’s per pupil funding this coming fiscal year.

The number is a "best guess" estimate he added, in light of the fact that the state legislators have not resolved their budget yet.

State funding, which accounts for 88 percent of the district’s revenue, has been on a steady decline for several years.

In addition, Sovey said student enrollment is expected to continue dropping.

The new proposed budget’s revenue is estimated at just over $1 million less than was taken in during the 2009-2010 fiscal year.
Keeping cuts away from the classroom

"I think we’ve done as good a job as any district in preserving what we have," said Sovey.

The proposed cuts call for efforts to share more special education expenses with the Eaton Intermediate School District, including speech services and transportation costs.

The Charlotte school district has also moved to eliminate recreation offerings for the community and to discontinue its driver’s education program.

"All of that is an effort to try and keep cuts away from the classroom," said Sovey.

Sovey added that the district’s employee groups have been reasonable in light of the cuts – but are feeling the pressure.

"This is not an easy environment to work in for our school employees," he explained.

"To have 10 years of continuos budget cuts is a lot to ask of anyone."
More cuts in the future – probably

Sovey said he believes a solution to the district’s budget struggles must come from the state level.

"It’s getting almost impossible to find more areas for cuts," he said.

Sove y added that the new budget calls for minimal equipment purchases and supplies district wide.

And although Sovey said he feels confident about the estimated losses in state funding, mid-year cuts from the legislature are still possible.

"We are sometimes surprised mid-year," he said.

The Board of Education will consider the 2010-2011 fiscal year budget during its June 14 meeting, which begins at 6:30 p.m.

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