Garfield Staffing Changes

I need to inform the public of the proposed changes in staffing in Garfield County School District for the next school year. Let me start by saying, all jobs are secure for the current school year.  The reason to address staffing changes at this time is because there is a time frame to let people know if they will not continue employment with the District. Teachers must be notified by March 15 or (60 days) before the end of their contract.  In order to plan for these dates, I will need to present my proposal to the Board for changes in staffing on the next fiscal year.  I need to collect names from principals for staffing changes and have the Board approve the recommendations in the February Board meeting so I can let people know by March 15th.

I want to talk about the funding of the District over the past 5 years please see the chart below:

 Year SRS Funding General Fund Total Percentage of General Fund
FY08 $135,187 $9,113,318 1.48%
FY09 $852,280 $10,055,791 8.48%
FY10 $891,801 $9,688,424 9.20%
FY11 $702,915 $9,300,363 7.55%
FY12 $621,000 $8,583,006 7.24%

SRS represents Secure Rural School or commonly called Forest Service money.  It is allocated on a five year rotation with the last allocation coming this current year.  As of today, the SRS has not been funded on the Federal level, so a plan for next year cannot include the SRS in the budget because it may not get funded.  Also, if you look at the General Fund you will see a continuous decrease over the past four years.  The general fund is where all teachers and staff are paid.  If SRS is funded, we cannot continue to put this into ongoing expenses like personnel salaries because it could be gone anytime with a vote of Federal legislatures.  You might have heard about Governor Herbert’s request to increase the WPU by 1%.  I have been told in my Superintendent meetings that the 1% increase in the WPU will not cover the 1.9% increase in State retirement and medical insurance increases.  Also, at the end of last year the District was approximately $300,000 in the negative.  The Board voted to move about $600,000 out of Capital to the General Fund to cover the shortfall.  Districts will only be able to move Capital money for one more year so we must plan for the future to address the funding short falls in the upcoming fiscal year.

Para educators are at will employees; meaning they do not have an expectation to work each year as long as a notice is given to them before the end of the school year stating they may not have a contract for the upcoming school year.  I plan to officially inform para educators in March with the letter.  My recommendation to the Board will be to release all para educators at the end of this school year.  Each principal will be given a specific number of para’s to rehire for the next school year.  All SPED para’s will be hired based on the number of IEP’s in the school.
The plans for staffing changes are listed by school.  These are the proposals I will present to the Board, all staffing is based on student numbers and FTE (Full Time Teacher Equivalent).
I will start with District Office cuts and the savings on State retirement by reducing the para educators to half time or .5 FTE.  The District Office will have a 1.5 FTE cut which is equivalent to one full time (40 hours) and one part time position (20 hours).  The savings will be approximately $26,500.  With reducing all para educator hours to .5 FTE (19.75) the savings will be $26,618. Escalante Elementary will lose one full time teacher and four (19.75) paraeducators for a savings of $92,500.  Escalante Elementary will have a teacher to student ratio of 20 students to one teacher.  Panguitch Elementary will lose two full time teachers and three (19.75) para educators, creating a savings of $139,500.  Panguitch Elementary will have a ratio of 20 students to one teacher.  Bryce Valley Elementary will lose six para educators positions (19.75) for a savings of $39,000.  Bryce Valley Elementary currently has one teacher for each grade level which makes it nearly impossible to release a teacher without removing a complete grade level from the school.  The ratio of teachers to student will be 19 students to every one teacher.  The para educators will have a ratio of 40 students to every one para educator.

On the high school levels it is difficult to remove the only teacher in a specific subject, for example if a history teacher was removed from the staff it would make it impossible for a student to graduate without this credit.  Some changes can be made but no substantial changes will occur on this level.  It is interesting to note that Panguitch High now has 1.3 FTE over what is required for graduation.  Bryce Valley has 1.16 FTE over the graduation requirements and Escalante is .5 FTE over the graduation requirements.  This means if a teacher is removed from Escalante High School the students would not be able to graduate.  Additional classified (hourly positions) can be reduced to save $36,630.  The total estimated savings will be approximately $362,748.  In my opinion, these are necessary cuts that must be made at this time.  Depending on what funding we receive for the upcoming school year, additional staffing changes may be necessary.  These are extremely difficult decisions to make and with continuing budget cuts from the State and Federal levels they must be made to ensure economic stability for the students in Garfield County School District.

If you would like additional information of if I can answer any questions as to why cuts were made in specific areas please feel free to call me at the District Office anytime.

–Superintendent Ben Dalton

Leave a Reply