Reducing $5.2M shortfall could cost IOW jobs

Published 9:30 am Wednesday, March 27, 2013


ISLE OF WIGHT—To reduce or eliminate the Isle of Wight County School’s $5.2 million budget shortfall could mean the loss of up to 65 teaching and administrative jobs. Furloughs, which are unpaid leave, are also a part of the savings suggestions.

This was offered in the options Superintendent Katrise Perera presented to the school board during a recent work session.

On March 1, when Perera first offered the $63.7 million budget for fiscal year 2013-14, there were no personnel cuts included. She stressed then to the board that the budget was “proposed”.

To help narrow the gap by $1.87 million could include: reduce 11 full-time classroom teachers ($590,000); reduce 17 full-time instructional assistant positions ($240,000); reduce two full-time special education positions ($75,000); administrative personnel changes ($175,500); eliminate the Smithfield High auto class ($87,000); eliminate two full-time clerical positions ($60,000); and eliminate four full-time library aides ($73,400) for a savings of $1.3 million.

To help narrow the gap by $3.5 million could include: reduce 11 classroom positions ($590,000); a two-day furlough for all employees ($250,000); delay technology purchases, staff development, hardware replacements and software ($192,000); and reclassify or eliminate positions in administrative personnel ($175,500).

To balance the budget, Perera also offered three options in addition to the aforementioned $3.5 million plan.

The first option would require reducing an extra 28 positions, making for a total of 65 jobs, which would result in a saving of $1.69 million.

The second plan would reduce extra 18 positions for a $1.06 million savings, plus five more furlough days at a $625,000 savings.

The third option would be any combination of the first two ideas, plus eliminating JV sports and non-VHSL teams for a $53,000 savings.

According to the school’s website, Perera “strongly expressed her concern that these options would cause significant direct impacts that would affect both student learning and achievement.”

“I can’t accept a flat or reduced budget because of the unknown foreseen reductions in state and federal aide,” said Hardy District school board member Herb DeGroft in reaction to Perera’s suggestions.

He continued, “I think we’re going to have to have $56 million or $57 million just to present our county’s youth with the kind of education they’re going to need and go out in this world.”

The public can comment on these proposed cuts from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 28, when the board meets at the county courthouse. Afterward, the board will have a meeting to vote on the budget.