District 9 lays out plan to make cuts and RIF

A plan for a District 9 sustainable budget was presented by Superintendent Cynda Rickert and Business Manager Scott Townsend during the Mar. 9 work session.

Funding per student has dropped from $6,028 in 2010 to $5,787 in 2011. Beginning in 2012 PERS requirements will see the district spending an additional $800,000. Step increases will cost $370,000 a year.  Stimulus funding amounting to $412,000 will be gone.

The district presented a proposal on staffing to the board of directors.

A sustainable budget program would see a five percent RIF (reduction in staff) from each of certified, classified and administration.  This would amount to $915,000.

The first discussion was about administrators. There are 14 in this category, which represents 3.6 percent of the district staffing. They have frozen their salaries since the 2009-10 year. Doug McKenzie, director of special programs, plans on retiring the end of June. Mike Remick is looking at retirement sometime in the fall. Rickert said McKenzie’s position would not be filled. However, he might be hired for two days a week and if Remick was hired for two or three days a week, the pay for the two of them would equal one salary and there when staff is brought back for reduced hours after retiring there are no benefits such as PERS.

Middle school athletics and selected activities would be reduced by $200,000. The discussion involved middle school intramural sports with volunteer coaches.

Another $178,155 would be cut from the secondary building budget.

These cuts amount to $1,293,155 for the 2011-2012 year.

Cuts totaling $2.5 million need to be cut for 2012-13 and that has not been addressed at this point.

These cuts do not take into consideration negotiations which just began last week.  The current proposed cuts could be mitigated depending on negotiations.
The district is proposing a two year contract that would:
• Reduce salary by 3 percent each of the two years.
• Require employees to pay half of the required 6 percent PERS, with the district paying the remainder.
• Freeze the district’s insurance contribution to $11,736 per year, which amounts to $978 per mo. per employee.
• Freeze step increases for experience.
• Freeze longevity payment for employees who are at the top of the pay scale.

According to district calculations, these changes would save $1.5 million next year and $2 million in 2012-13.

Currently there are 135 licensed staff receiving a STEP. The highest STEP is STEP 14 and there are 61.5 employees on that step. Under the current contract they automatically receive 3.4 percent increase in their salary.

Once an employee has reached STEP 14, he or she qualifies for longevity instead of a STEP and that pays an extra $1,029 annually. There are about 20 who qualify. There is also a longevity bonus for 18 years or more and 29 employees currently qualify to receive $1,714 additional annual pay. 

Forty-five licensed staff receive extra duty stipends of varying amounts, depending upon the activity.

For classified, there are 8 STEPS. Seventy of the 135 employees are on a STEP, with 65 at STEP 8.

Longevity pay for classified comes at 8 years with an additional $1,029 pay and for those 57 employees who have put in 12 or more years, the premium pay is $1,714. These are the same premiums as those received by certified staff members. 

There are only nine who receive extra duty stipends.

The regular board meeting on Mar. 9 included student and staff recognition from White Mountain Middle School. Students honored were Byron Anderson and Teyah Smith. Byron has a 4.0 g.pa. And is known as a student who converses well with teachers. Teyah is quite talent musically and mature beyond her years.

Becky Pool, is the school secretary. She amazed Principal Paul Cataldo when he first arrived at WMMS with her ability to do all the necessary student registration work on a program neither she nor Cataldo had previously used.

There were four motions before the board.

The first was to authorize the district administration to begin the reduction in force process. Those who may be subject to this will be notified before spring break.  Board member Mark Bateman wanted specifics on the process. The superintendent referred him to the board policy and the union contract.  The motion passed 3-2 with Bateman and Jim Mannenbach voting no.

The next motion was renewal of the superintendent’s contract. Bateman and Mannenbach voted no.

On a 5-0 vote renewal and non-renewal of probation teachers and administrators and for extension of contracts to contract teachers was approved.

The last motion asked the board to approve distribution of Mar. 9 letters written to the district administrators regarding a letter written by Mannenbach and published in the Feb. 22 Upper Rogue Independent. Board chair Scott Grissom read into the record a letter he wrote in response to letters from administrators. There was discussion between Mannenbach and Grissom before a 3-2 vote in support of Grissom’s letter.
By Nancy Leonard
Of the Independent


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