The total number of proposed Rome school district staff reductions in the upcoming 2019-20 district budget is a “moving target,” and currently is at about 75 positions, district Superintendent Peter C. Blake said Saturday.
The amount “changes every day with resignations, retirements from every bargaining unit,” said Blake; such departures affect the elimination of positions in cost-trimming efforts to balance the proposed 2019-20 spending plan.
Regarding anticipated layoffs as compared to some positions being eliminated through attrition, Blake said “again, it is a moving target.” He observed “there is no way to predict the number of layoffs because of people taking jobs in other districts and/or late retirements. It all changes every week.”
Blake added his “best guess” is “there will be approximately 35 actual layoffs. That number is contingent upon a lot of things, but most importantly upon the budget being successful.” A 2019-20 district budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1 is subject to final approval by school district voters in a May 21 election.
Preceding that vote, a Board of Education resolution to adopt a 2019-20 proposed budget of $116.69 million to present for the May 21 public election will be considered by the board Tuesday night.
The board’s regular meeting session is expected to be at 6:30 p.m. at Strough Middle School, 801 Laurel St., following an anticipated 5 p.m. closed executive session at the start of the meeting for the purpose of discussing legal matters.
Blake’s 2019-20 district budget proposal is down from the current $117.9 million budget for 2018-19, and it calls for reductions to help offset revenue shortfalls including in state aid.
“Without a successful budget, the number of reductions and layoffs would need to drastically increase at this point,” Blake noted. If a district budget is not approved after two votes, a contingency budget would take effect and trigger additional reductions beyond what is now proposed.
Blake was asked about the overall district-wide staff impacts in regard to his updated budget proposal that was posted Thursday on the school district website. It included reinstating 30 teacher positions that previously had been part of the cuts targeted; the latest budget proposal followed a recent increase in state financial aid for the district compared to earlier projections.
The revised proposal also listed some staff reductions still being planned including 42 in teaching; eight instructional coaches or teachers on special assignment; four in administration; and eight support staff. Blake on March 27 had proposed district-wide reductions of about 115 staff positions through attrition and layoffs, but that was prior to the additional state aid.
Regarding the proposed reduction of four administrative positions, Blake said Saturday they are to be “through attrition in the coming months.” He added he “can’t speak to the exact positions, in the event that something changes over the next few months.”