wmbb.com - School Cuts - Pass or Fail?
-->Click Here -->

--- Advertisement ---

School Cuts - Pass or Fail?
11/17/09 - 04:07 AM
 RSS Feed

Jessi Chapin - bio
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Bay County, Fla:

When it comes down to budget math, do school board members make the grade?  After millions of dollars in budget cuts during the past year.  News13 is on your side crunching numbers and checking the facts.

The halls of the Nelson Building don’t look like they used to.  Empty offices and broken-down cubicles serve as a reminder of the $16 million in cuts and 5 closed schools during the past year.  According to Superintendent Bill Husfelt, about 40 teacher positions were cut.  Some programs and services also saw reductions.

But how much did leaders take away at the district level?

“There were 100 positions cut across the district,” Said Husfelt, “Some of them were M.I.S, some were clerical.. maintenance, transportation, food service, insurance offices, everybody was involved in the cuts.” click for larger image

Two million dollars in cuts are from salaries at the district level.  That’s apparant in black and white on the pages of the budget, but at a second glance, about $1 million in salaries were also added.

“We have restructured, we think we’re getting more accomplished with fewer numbers,” said Husfelt, “We consolidated a lot of positions, we cut some positions, we created new ones that were based on maybe we could hire one person to do two jobs and we restructured.”

With all salary changes included, district cuts total about $1 million.  The district employees who remain are now doing more, like Asst. Finance Officer Janice Thomas.

“I’m constantly busy at all times,” she said, “and so sometimes I wonder if I’m actually going to come up for air, but if I manage my time right I’m able to do it.”

When a co-worker retired, she took on the work.  She is also responsible for all newly funded Federal stimulus money.  Thomas’ position is a consolidation of three jobs. click for larger image

“Change brings on responsibility,” she said, “Change may possibly bring on increased workloads but as long as I keep my head on straight and have a peace about it I try not to let that really stress me out.”

For former Arnold High School Principal John Haley, he says his new position as Supervisor of Student Service Operations may look like an increase, but he actually saves the district money.

“We have done a lot to actually cut funds from this division,” he said, “It provides the district an opportunity to oversee expenditures, whether they’re needed or not needed and to make sure the district is getting the best bang for its buck.”

Haley oversees 9 departments and has saved a total of $1.4 million in operating costs.  But, the search for savings is an ongoing process.

“It’s constantly a battle to try to make sure you’re doing everything that you think you need to do,” said Husfelt, “and other people think you need to do.” click for larger image

More Cuts Could be Coming

When it comes to future budget battles, Husfelt says they may not be done with the war.  Recent stimulus money has kept some positions, and allwed the district to even add new positions like resource counselors. But, the money won’t last forever.

“We have no idea what the budget’s going to be like next year except the budget’s going to be down,” said Husfelt, “So, they keep telling us we’re getting less and we have to figure out how to operate with less.”

He says in about two years the stimulus money will run out and if their costs stay the same, it could mean more cuts all over again.



User Comments

As one of the laid-off teachers myself, I see a more negative picture in the way the school district has handled the budget cuts. While they are in a tight spot, our students are the ones who are suffering the most from the cuts. Less experienced teachers with temporary certifications and bachelor’s degrees are getting hired over teachers with more experience, multiple professional certifications, and advanced degrees. I personally hold professional certifications in biology, earth-space science, social science, middle grades integrated, ESE, and educational leadership, along with an advanced education specialist degree, yet I have not taught as a fulltime teacher since May of 2007. Since union requirements force the district to pay me more because of my advanced degrees, even though I would accept lesser pay, schools find it difficult to hire older, more experienced teachers. Older teachers have so much wisdom and passion to offer students, yet they are discriminated against.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  11/17  at  11:01 PM
Page 1 of 1 pages
WMBB.com requires that you be a registered site member to post comments and content.
Why Register?
First, we are not being sneaky and gathering your email or other information to sell to telemarketers or e-mail spam companies.

Registration on this site is required simply to allow us to keep people who would post discriminatory, threatening and harassing messages and comments from doing it again.

By having user registration, we hope to provide you with a better user experience. Please view WMBB.com's full Terms & Conditions