As part of budget reductions, the Aberdeen School District have eliminated a number of teachers.
Earlier in April the school district announced that almost $6.5 million in budget reductions were needed to keep the district solvent.
According to a release, state and county officials had advised district to plan for reduced property tax collections and reduced funding from the state in 2020-2021, as well as expect a decline in enrollment.
In a release from Superintendent Dr. Alicia Henderson this week, she says that these reductions included the decision not to renew provisional certificated staff.
She says that a provisional teacher is either a teacher in their first three years of teaching, or a teacher who is in their first year of teaching in the Aberdeen School District.
Henderson says in her letter that although the state budget will be released in June, by law, the district must offer teachers their contracts by May 15.
“We do not have the luxury of taking risks, because we do not have a large fund balance that can serve as a safety net. We must take a conservative approach, designed to ensure the fiscal solvency of our district. Unfortunately, this has resulted in staff reductions.”
She adds that the effort is now focused on placements for remaining certificated staff using the prototypical school model from the state.
When that is complete, the focus will be on classified staffing levels.
Henderson does say that once the state budget is released in mid-June, she and the district are hopeful that there will be enough funding to bring some of those positions back.
Henderson adds that prior to the pandemic, Aberdeen was already preparing for reductions of $2 million next year due to declining enrollment and a lack of funding under the state’s current model, saying that it impacts property-poor districts like Aberdeen the hardest.
Employees make up more than 80 percent of the district’s budget.
A resolution was brought to the Board of Directors at the Tuesday, April 21 (remote online) public meeting seeking a directive to prepare for a “reduced educational program.”
Henderson said, “Aberdeen must prepare for the expected shortfall as it would not be prudent to build a budget based on the hope of future funding to offset the impact of the pandemic.”
“We need to budget for the worst and hope for the best” when it comes to revenue that might be forthcoming to offset the needed reductions, she told the Budget Advisory Committee.
The Budget Advisory Committee presentation is available online.