Friday, May 02, 2008

Staff Non-Renewals Looming

Take a look at Dr. Garnell Bailey’s May letter to the community on the school district web site.

Amongst all the information and good news, there is this paragraph:

In support of the adoption of the 2008-2009 School Budget as passed by the Plainfield voters, the District will began realignment based upon projected student enrollment. The Human Resources Team will provide a variety of outplacement services to those employees who are impacted by the realignment.

It’s true the voters passed the budget, but even if they hadn’t, the state intended to enforce a 4 percent increase in the local school tax levy, the first change since 1992. And the state increased aid to the district by just 2 percent for 2008-09, after which it will go flat. The district had to find a way to meet a $5 million shortfall.

The language about enrollment is based on findings that past budgets assumed an enrollment of about 8,000, when in fact the district has experienced a 16 percent decrease in enrollment.
When Plaintalker reported on the 2008-09 school budget in March, the challenges included $3.6 million in salary increases for 2008-09, $700,000 more in fringe benefits, $225,000 to launch the new Emerson School, $200,000 in tuition increases, $1 million more in charter school aid plus an added $313,814 in charter school aid.

To offset the challenges, cost saving measures include the following reductions: nine district administrators, 1.5 IT staff, eight secretaries, one bus driver, one security officer, 51 non-tenured teacher, 17 kindergarten assistants, seven certified support staff, a 50 percent reduction in the Faces/School-Based Youth Services program, four clerical assistants, six parent liaisons and four as-yet unspecified positions.

The list may have changed since then, but one can see the scope of the impact on school staff.

The district chose to give non-renewal notices to those affected instead of issuing a blanket “reduction in force” notice that might have dragged the uncertainty on through the summer. The people whose employment will not be renewed must be notified by May 14.

It is a sad and difficult time for the school district and harsh times still lie ahead. Incoming Schools Superintendent Steve Gallon III will have to find a way to fill gaps in the administration even as state funding dwindles.

May and June are normally happy months, full of holidays and celebrations. For staff members who face non-renewal, it may be a season of worries and readjustments. At least the district has pledged to assist the individuals in finding new jobs.

--Bernice Paglia


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is unfortunate for those who will lose their jobs, but if there is a 16% decrease in enrollment, there should be an appropriate decrease in support functions - and I will add that in my opinion, even at that the system is bloated.
So, quite frankly, I don't think the reductions go deep enough.

Lest you think I am a scrooge, if there is a reduction in children going to school in Plainfield, there must be a need in other private schools for additional support. So, hopefully, the jobs will transfer to another area.

Only problem with that, I suppose, is that there won't be the exhorbatant pension collection which we as taxpayers cough up.

10:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is the price citizens pay for not being envolved in their community. Our political system demands participation. Failure to participate and institutions that have the power of taxation will exploit its citizenry. This is precisly the consequents that we are facing in Plainfield. The BOE is faulted for the spinless manner that that they comply with a failed process. Lets hope they find the guts to do what is right.

12:59 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home