College Place schools to see staff cuts

About nine workers are expected to be affected by layoffs and non-renewals.

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COLLEGE PLACE -- Projected cuts to education funding from the state for next year will result in staffing cuts that were revealed during the College Place School Board's meeting earlier this month.

College Place Public Schools Superintendent Tim Payne went over the district's Modified Educational Program, with the district losing about nine people currently employed by the district.

Payne said the expected cuts were made using estimates of the financial forecast for the 2011-12 school year, which makes drastic cuts to education funding throughout the state.

However, the proposals are just a best guess at what will keep the district operating in the coming year, and may continue to shift.

"This is a moving target," Payne said. "My job is to pick a place in time and say this is what we know right now."

The district would lose a kindergarten position, a third-grade classroom teacher, and a sixth-grade teacher, through what is called reduction in force, or layoffs among certificated staff, and non-renewal of contracts for the most recently hired staff. Four classified positions would also be cut through the proposal.

The cuts to staffing would save the district about $288,000, but Payne said the savings would be about $60,000 less once unemployment payments are factored in.

During its March meeting, the School Board officially declared the district would have inadequate financial resources available for the 2011-12 school year to operate at current levels. The procedural move allows the board to move forward with the modified educational program, which was made public during the March board meeting.

Staff affected by the cuts were notified March 17 of their status for the coming year.

Savings will also come through administrative changes, such as the elimination of the dean of students position at Sager Middle School. That staff member, who also taught part-time, will instead teach full-time next year.

The administrative shifts would put oversight of the district's special education programs under Payne. Principal Bill Varady, who oversees Meadow Brook Intermediate and Sager, would lead Meadow Brook only but take over the district's Learning Assistance Program and be the district's assessment coordinator.

Special programs director Linda Byerley would take on duties as Sager principal, and handle the highly capable and bilingual programs, and Title I and II oversight.

Payne said the district also anticipates taping into part of its reserve funds to get through the next school year

The modified educational program is still a proposal, and will be formally adopted during the board's meeting April 21.

Maria P. Gonzalez can be reached at mariagonzalez@wwub.com or 526-8317.

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