Staff reductions planned, but no courses eliminated
School Superintendent Doug Gee has presented the Clear Lake School Board with staffing options which will cut an estimated $600,000 from the district’s 2017-18 budget. The Board unanimously approved the plan, which will keep all present course offerings in place.
Gee, speaking to a full Clear Lake Middle School media center, explained he reached the board’s goal of cutting $600,000 from the budget almost entirely through staff reductions and attrition.
The Board had originally tasked Gee with trimming more than $400,000 from its budget through early retirements, however, he was directed to look for an additional $200,000 to cut after it was discovered the district had overspent by $961,000 over the last two years and is projected to overspend by another $352,000 in the current year.
Acceptance of an early retirement package by 14 employees was key, he said.
Five positions will be filled by first year, or less experienced teachers, said Gee. At least two positions will drop from full time to half time, while duties of others, such as the curriculum coordinator, will be absorbed by others on staff. One custodian and one IT person will not be replaced, saving over $103,000.
All elementary teachers retiring will be replaced under Gee’s plan, including the elementary music position.
At the high school, a social studies teacher will switch to special education and a part time social studies teacher will be hired. Middle and high school teachers will absorb the classes taught by a retiring high school math teacher.A halftime Spanish teacher will not be replaced, however the district will continue to offer Spanish and French, which had been considered for elimination last year.
The cuts and modifications outlined Wednesday represented $579,678 in savings, according to Gee. He added that he was confident the $600,000 mark will be achieved. He recommended waiting until May to have a better idea of incoming kindergarten student numbers and early enrollment projections.
Gee said he did not anticipate more cuts would be needed, but said Middle School art, high school choir I, and teacher positions at the kindergarten