As part of a plan to reduce expenditures, the Thomasville City Board of Education approved cutting nine positions and outsourcing grounds work.
Dr. Daniel Oldham, city BOE director of finance, said if a millage increase is needed to fund the fiscal 2015 budget, the system also must cut expenditures as a balanced approach to the “fiscal crisis” caused by state funding cuts.
Staff to be cut:
• One part-time Scholars Academy teacher
• One alternative education teacher
• One alternative education counselor
• One alternative education paraprofessional
• Two discipline secretaries (non-instructional)
• Outsourcing of grounds crew
• One technology specialist (non-instructional)
• Two media paraprofessionals (locally funded)
The cuts were made based on the least impact on instructional quality and program efficiency, Oldham said.
The cuts will save the school system $510,000, said BOE Chairman John Everett, adding that some vacant positions will not be filled.
When asked why employees were terminated before it is known if a property tax increase is necessary, Superintendent Sabrina Boykins-Everett said officials, during recent budget planning, wanted to create “a balanced approach” to reducing expenditures, while considering a possible millage increase.
Terminated employees are being given an opportunity to apply for system vacancies for which they are qualified/certified. Interviews are rescheduled for this week.
Three people are on the grounds crew. Although marked for being cut, the crew will be retained if savings cannot be realized though another method of grounds maintenance, Boykins-Everett explained.
Boykins-Everett questioned the relevancy of a question about how many of her relatives are employed by the school system. The relatives include three immediate family members and two by marriage.
None of her relatives were terminated in the fiscal 2015 budget.
“However, as part of the cuts in last year’s FY 2104 budget considerations, one of my relative’s salary was reduced,” Boykins-Everett explained.
The superintendent said she presented a plan for reduction in force (RIF) in affected program areas. Each specific position involved in the RIF and its impact on instruction was discussed, she explained.
Oldham said duties of two terminated discipline secretaries would be distributed among remaining staff.
When asked why the secretaries were needed if other personnel can perform their duties, Boykins-Everett said that when revenue sources beyond local revenue was higher, officials had more fiscal discretion to provide additional support for administrators with local funds.
“Due to the large state cuts over the last seven years, we are no longer able to provide this specific administrative support. At a time when we must all ‘wear multiple hats of responsibility,’ we simply cannot afford these positions any longer. School systems around the state — especially small systems — are streamlining staff to be more efficient,” the superintendent explained.
System officials have attempted to apply other strategies to balance the school system budget during the past seven years, she said.
Said Boykins-Everett, “These strategies include furlough days, attrition, salary reductions, not increasing the millage rate, not reducing positions and reductions in local retirement match. In 2011, we actually cut taxes by not going to the rollback rate.”
Senior reporter Patti Dozier can be reached at (229) 226-2400, ext. 1820.