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Staff cuts get the OK

District passes the ‘reduction’ of 16 teachers
By: Laura Newell Telegraph staff writer
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Last week the Buckeye Union School District unanimously passed the “reduction” of 16 teachers. The Board of Trustees voted to reduce the K-5 teaching staff in the district including the reduction of the three positions in the elementary physical education program. “By law the board must give notice to any certificate employee that we will not require their service for the next year,” said Superintendent Terry Wenig. “This year in order to try to prevent layoffs, the board offered a retirement incentive to certified staff and 16 teachers opted to participate in this incentive.” According to the Board Resolution, the current budget proposal for the 2011-12 fiscal year includes estimations if there is an extension of the current temporary tax increase and if those temporary tax increases were to expire. If the temporary tax increases are allowed to expire, districts would have at least a reduction of $350 per student in 2011-12, Wenig said. The district has also used one-time funding in 2010-11 that will no longer be available for certain positions, according to the resolution. Additionally, the district continues to have an ongoing structural deficit that has been exacerbated in recent years with cuts from state funding. The district is minimally facing a deficit of between $900,000 and $2,800,000 for the 2011-12 fiscal year. Teacher reductions are based on a potential decrease in enrollment and class size reduction flexibility, according to officials. “Because of the retirement incentive, one teacher in the district will receive a layoff notice,” Wenig said. This anticipated preliminary layoff notice is based on credential. “The particular teacher (anticipated for a preliminary layoff notice) has a certificate in a single subject-physical education-and can not teach anything by physical education,” Wenig said. “This is a preliminary layoff notice and not official … March 15 is the first date the board must take action and May 15 is when the final layoff notice will take place.” According to the resolution, the reduction in these particular kinds of certificated services should save the district approximately $1,000,000. “I think it’s a terrible position to put the district and staff in because we are forced to make decisions about staffing before we really know what our budget is and what our enrollment is,” Wenig said. With budget cuts prevalent, there are some organizations working to raise funds for the district. Jon Yoffie, president of the Buckeye Education Foundation, said the foundation is an advocate for the children and raises money for district-wide educational programs. “We are interested in what the district and teachers are doing for our children’s education,” Yoffie said.