Layoffs likely if budget situation doesn't improve at Clyde Schools

CLYDE The Clyde-Green Springs school district is looking at staff cuts to bring the district's budge
Sarah Weber
May 24, 2010



The Clyde-Green Springs school district is looking at staff cuts to bring the district's budget into the black.

"The five-year forecast shows us with basically a $1 million spending deficit for the next school year," said superintendent Gregg Elchert.

He said similar to what most people have experienced in their own households, the cost of insurance and standard operating costs have increased.

Because 80 percent of the costs involved in running the school come back to personnel, Elchert said that is where district officials will have to trim.

"It's certainly not a time to go back to the voters and ask for additional funds," he said.

The district school board in the past 20 years has been careful to look at each position as it becomes empty as the result of a retirement or an employee leaving a job, Elchert said. If the board determines the position is vital to the school's operations, they fill it. If it's not vital, they eliminate the position.

"We've never had one big loss of 20 people in one year," Elchert said. "Maybe one year we're down four or five people and another year we're up a few people."

In this case the school board will likely be able to reduce staff through attrition, but it is unclear if other teachers or staff will be affected by the reductions.

Elchert said teachers' contracts must be finished by April 30, so now is decision time. He said the district can't afford to depend on federal stimulus funding that may or may not trickle down to the district from the state.

If the money doesn't arrive, he said, the district still needs to be able to pay its staff.

The district does not anticipate cuts will affect teacher-to-student ratios.

"If the financial picture gets worse than it is now, then the cuts will have to go a lot deeper and that will affect how we educate kids," Elchert said.

The student population at the school has held steady at about 2,200 for the past several years.

The funds for the $60 million school building and renovation projects under way in the district are separate from the general operating budget and are paid for with state money and a local levy.

School board president Todd Warner said he was aware of the budget issue, but he referred questions to Elchert.