The budget was passed and now there’s talk about RIFs.
What’s up with that?
Nancy Jester, DeKalb County Board Of Education says on July 19, 2012 at 3:23 pm Edit
Given recent Board meetings involving staff reductions and the various questions I am receiving on this topic, I thought it would be helpful for me to write a timeline regarding the budget process to date. I hope that this timeline helps alleviate some confusion and offers clarity on my positions.
1. The board approved a reduction in force (April 27, 2012 – click here for the agenda) prior to the budget being passed. Many teachers were “non-renewed” as the school year came to a close because of over-staffing in their particular area (PE, music, etc.).
2. Subsequently, teachers were given contracts. The “new” RIF plan would terminate teachers that were given contracts. Those teachers would be entitled to fair dismissal hearings, etc. This further compounds problems with our legal fees.
3. The “budget” was passed (June 20,12 – click here for the agenda/documents) and the Board was explicitly told that no further RIFs would be needed. The administration was clear on this. We were told that budget cuts and the normal rate of attrition would provide for the absorption of all remaining teaching/para personnel without further RIFs. (I voted against the budget and millage increase.)
4. As I stated at our recent Board meeting, the Board was not provided a detailed budget at the time of the vote. The only documents provided were a list of cuts and a list of increases in fixed costs that had not previously been budgeted. My opinion is had I supported the budget in theory, it would still have been poor form to vote on a budget that was not presented in detail. Lists of cuts and fixed cost corrections are NOT a budget. Only after the budget was passed have we been given a department level budget.
5. The administration drives the budgeting timeline. The preparation was delayed in an unprecedented manner. Some of these delays were avoidable, some were not.
6. I am not categorically against staffing reductions. I would prefer that more administrative cuts/adjustments be made (salary reductions, etc.) before we cut classroom resources.
7. Due to a scheduling conflict the Superintendent and two Board members were not able to attend the most recent Board meeting to discuss this matter. I look forward to being able to have a dialogue with everyone present with all due alacrity.