IOW school board aims to cut costs

Published 9:34 am Saturday, April 21, 2012

ISLE OF WIGHT—Cutting nine lead teaching positions to save $600,000 was among cost-saving measures discussed by the Isle of Wight County School Board Thursday.

The board learned about options to ease a $5.4 million increase over last year in its proposed $57.2 million budget if the Board of Supervisors does not agree to increase local funding. If options are approved, $4 million could be cut from the budget.

School Chief Financial Officer Phillip Bradshaw told the board the nine teachers would not lose their jobs, but would fill

vacancies due to retirements and resignations.

The board has seven teachers who will take a retirement incentive package that includes continued health coverage, but requires they work 15 days next year. The retirement incentives means a cost savings of $150,000.

Board member Julia Perkins does not favor eliminating lead teachers, who work with teachers and students to improve instruction.

“They work with students and teachers to help improve student performance,” Perkins said. “This would have a detrimental impact on the classrooms.”

The board also could eliminate three school library clerks and take away five days of holiday pay; the latter would save $488,000.

Other recommendations included energy savings, which could total $160,000. These changes include monitoring, scheduling and raising the temperature of the air conditioning, monitoring the use of lights and establishing a part-time energy monitor position to evaluate energy use in every building.

“If we move forward on this, the savings will go up more, much more,” Bradshaw said.

Other cost reductions include implementing a student activity fee, reducing supplemental pay for advanced degrees and removing an electronic textbook program.

A public hearing on the proposed school budget has been set for 7 p.m. Thursday, May 10, at the Isle of Wight County Courthouse.