City schools cut #036;200,000 from payroll

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 14, 2008

FRANKLIN—Five positions have been cut from the Franklin city schools’ central office in an effort, according to School Board Chairman Bill Scarboro, to trim the budget.

The cuts will amount to almost $200,000 in savings, as well as leave $41,000 to add to the compensation package for a new superintendent to replace the retiring Bill Pruett.

&uot;When we added and subtracted revenues and changes to the budget, we came up with $41,000 more in revenues than expenditures,&uot; explained Scarboro. &uot;That money was put into that (Administrative Health Services) category to give us money to search for a new superintendent.&uot;

Network and Systems Administrator Jonathan Lackey and Instructional Resource Technology Coordinator Jo Anne Murray’s positions have been cut.

The division’s reading lead teacher Carol Claggett will be reassigned from the central office to the classroom. Claggett said she will serve as sixth grade reading/language arts teacher at J.P. King Jr. Middle School.

Lackey also served as network and systems administrator for the city, which contracted with the school board.

City Manager Bucky Taylor said the city paid about $54,000 — or 70 percent — of Lackey’s salary, while the school board paid the remainder of his compensation.

&uot;There is no money in the budget to offer the same compensation package,&uot; Taylor said. &uot;We will be advertising for the position, and hope to have applications in by June 26.&uot;

Another budget reduction includes not filling a position that will be vacant after Finance Director Eileen Ritter’s retirement on Aug. 1. She said she had planned on retiring before budget cuts were being made. She has served the school board for 33 years.

&uot;We will drop back to three people in finance,&uot; said Scarboro.

He also confirmed that &uot;right now, we have no plans to change&uot; Director of Technology Gina Hancock’s position.

&uot;But, we’ve got to figure out who is going to pick up what duties,&uot; he said. &uot;I think we’ll still need a technology director,&uot; although she may have some additional duties.

That will leave two people in the Information Technology Department.

In addition, the positions of two part-time secretaries in the central office were cut.

Those affected were notified the last week of May that their jobs may be in jeopardy. Votes to approve the changes took place at a school board meeting last week.

Superintendent Bill Pruett didn’t want to comment publicly, because the budget is &uot;still an ongoing project.&uot; Recently announcing his resignation, Pruett said his decision had &uot;absolutely nothing&uot; to do with the budget cuts.

The budget is expected to be finalized during Thursday’s night’s school board meeting after consideration of an amendment to the budget regarding a recent City Council approval of $93,000 for an additional alternative education school.

The proposed school budget is $14.2 million.

The cuts were &uot;not done without a lot of soul-searching,&uot; said Scarboro. &uot;It’s not something we’re proud of.

&uot;It is very difficult because it affects people’s lives, and I do feel so responsible for that.

&uot;But, we only have so much money, and it is illegal to run over the budget.&uot;