The Cherokee School Board approved about $260,000 in staffing cuts for the next school year, some through attrition and some through a reduction of current employees.
The board approved cost cutting recommendations from an administrative team, The action occurred in the regular board session Thursday evening, following a special hearing and meeting to approve the budget for the 2007/08 fiscal year which begins July 1.
Full-time instructor positions eliminated include a high school business education teacher, sixth grade teacher and eighth grade science teacher. All of these positions are being eliminated by attrition. Two full-time elementary associate positions are being eliminated, but not through attrition.
Other positions eliminated are part-time, including a 40 percent middle school instrumental music instructor, high school associate, a middle school associate, an elementary associate and a bus driver. Of these, only the middle school associate is eliminated through attrition.
There will be a loss of one bus route.
John Chalstrom, superintendent, said there will be some reduction in business course offerings, but other course offerings will be maintained through adjustment of the workload of the present staff. This will involve several involuntary transfers.
"This is not ideal, but we have reached a point where there are no good decisions," Chalstrom said.
As Chalstrom explained earlier at the budget hearing, the school district has little control over its general fund budget. The state sets a per pupil amount for the general fund that is consistent in districts throughout the state. Loss of enrollment means loss of revenue and the district has lost 80 students over the last two years.
Besides the reduction in staff, there is expected to be some savings resulting from resignations and retirements of personnel who will be replaced by employees at a lower pay level.
The total savings could be up to $272,000 but Chalstrom said that the actual savings will likely be about $260,000, since some replacements will have experience and not be paid at the lowest level.
Chalstrom said that the administrative team put many hours in considering the matter and had set a target for reducing personnel costs by $260,000.
He said that if enrollment count declines again in the fall, more reductions will be needed next year.