Isle of Wight Schools look to slash 60 positions

Published 9:40 am Saturday, March 12, 2011


ISLE OF WIGHT—A continued weak economy combined with a reduction in funding could mean a $1 million decrease to the 2011-2012 Isle of Wight County Schools budget and possible elimination of 60 jobs.

Among the positions that could be lost are library clerks, lead teachers and instruction assistants. These are not state funded.

This was the bottom line in a presentation by School Superintendent Dr. Michael W. McPherson to the School Board on Thursday. The proposed budget is $57.6 million, a $1.03 million drop from last year.

McPherson asked the School Board to ask the Board of Supervisors for a one-time, carry-over of funds from 2010 and whatever is saved in 2011 to offset some job losses.

Katherine Goff, communication specialist for the school district, said there are 29 positions funded through the stimulus funding.

“We expect to receive the Education Fund through federal money that could allow 12 jobs to be kept,” Goff said.

McPherson stressed to the board that “the budget is still fluid.”

He cited four factors that are negatively affecting the proposal, particularly where pay increases, job protection, school maintenance and transportation are concerned. These were goals asked by the board to be included in developing the budget.

McPherson pointed to poor economic health, reduced federal stimulus grants, a developed budget based on level local funding, and necessary increases in categories beyond control, such as rising fuel costs.

More specifically, federal funding reductions and “unavoidable operating cost increases related to employee benefits” are preventing the protection of jobs.

The board voted to hold a public hearing at 7 p.m. Monday, March 21, with a work session set for the same time Wednesday, March 23, followed by a special session at 7 p.m. March 28.