Accelify Blog

Teachers’ Contract Agreement May Be Good News for School Budget

April 21, 2010

A contract settlement with the teachers’ union could offset $400,000 in proposed cuts to the Ames Community School District’s general budget for fiscal year 2010-11.

Superintendent Tim Taylor told the school board Monday night he is confident the district and the Ames Education Association are close to agreement, and he came to the meeting prepared with suggestions for restoring some budget items currently slated for cuts.

If an agreement can be reached with the teachers’ union, Taylor proposed reversing about $129,900 in budget cuts by restoring health clerks, some secretaries, middle school team facilitators and 12-month contracts for associate principals.

Under such a scenario, the revised budget proposal would cut $3.6 million for 2010-11 fiscal year.

The board will not act on Taylor’s suggestions until after public budget forums are held this week. Taylor said he hopes to have the teachers’ contract ready for ratification so action can be taken on the budget at the May 3 board meeting.

Taylor said restoring the full-year associate principals along with clerical positions and middle school team facilitators could lighten the burden of extra duties.

During a public forum, several middle school teachers called cuts to academic programs unacceptable. They said the proposal to cut to 9.5 core-content teachers at the middle school is not equitable compared to two teacher positions being reduced at the elementary level and about seven at the high school.

Lisa Clayberg, who teaches eighth grade English, said the middle school is on Iowa Department of Education’s watch list for schools in need of assistance due to low reading scores.

“This plan doesn’t stand a good chance of increasing our test scores,” she said. “The middle school is judged on reading, math and science scores.”

Changes to district administration

Taylor also explained details of a plan to restructure the district administration, designed to save $320,000.

Taylor said he plans to manage core human resources responsibilities as superintendent and has eliminated the deputy superintendent position.

 “I will farm out some other human resources functions,” he said.

 The current executive director of curriculum and instruction position will become the associate superintendent, serving as the district’s second-in-command and covering collective bargaining duties in addition to overseeing instructional programming.

The special education director position would be reconfigured as the school development director and would pick up some of the work involved in curriculum planning.

Taylor said Susan Pecinovsky, the executive director of curriculum and instruction, and Elizabeth Jurgensen, director of special education, have reviewed the job descriptions.

The board approved the plan unanimously without discussion and voted to accept Taylor’s contract as superintendent with a base salary of $130,000, about $47,000 less than his predecessor, Linda Beyea.