Minden Press-Herald

Oct 02nd

RIF plan on back burner


Webster Parish teachers and other personnel will have to wait a while longer before learning if they will have jobs next year.

During Thursday night's school board meeting Webster Parish Superintendent Steve Dozier recommended to the board that the Reduction In Force (RIF) plan be tabled for now.

With a deficit reaching $4.4 million, Dozier had prepared the first phase of a RIF plan, which would make significant cuts in efforts to reduce the 2012-13 budget.

"Since announcing the need to implement a reduction, we have received information that the governor's educational reform package contains significant changes in the law relative to reductions in force and that such changes may be implemented in the very near future," Dozier said.

Board member Charles Strong wanted to clarify that deferring any action at this time would not delay the board's deadline.

"I assume that tabling the motion would not impact in any way our target deadline of when we wrap this up so there would be as much notice we can provide to anyone that might be affected by it," he said.

Dozier assured him the plan is to stay on track.

"With this recent turn of events, we need to kind of scale back and wait and see if this is a fact," he said.

"I do know that it is being debated now and it very well could be through, and we expect it to be through within the month – that's what our legal advisors tell us," Dozier continued. "I have even talked to our State Superintendant and he basically told me to please wait – he feels this will be done soon."

According to Dozier the job positions he previously identified in the RIF plan still need to be eliminated.

"Those positions I identified those are not going to change – those positions are solid, but what will happen is the people that will be removed may change," Dozier said.

The 35 positions that are still to be eliminated are 12 elementary teachers, two elementary counselors, four elementary librarian positions, seven secondary teaching positions, one Alternative School administrator, three dean of students, two full-time and one part-time Special Education staff professional positions, and one district coordinator and two contracted positions in the District Safe & Drug Free schools staff.

Several current employees have indicated their intentions of retiring at the end of the 2011-2012 school year, and Dozier is optimistic these retirements will help reduce the budget.

"While reductions may be inevitable, it is hoped that the planned retirements and resignations will reduce the impact of such a reduction," Dozier said.

The school board approved Dozier's recommendation.

Other business included:

nThe presentation of WEEF grants in the amount of $500 each to six WP teachers. This year's grant recipients were: Theresa Downs, Bridget Bridges, Todd Aulds, Jennifer Sandelices, Robin Campbell and Bernard Friday.

nApproval of the 2012-2013 School Year Calendar

nApproval to end the Kelly Temporary Services substitute contract as of May 31, 2012. Ending this contract will save $250,000.

nApproval to accept several proposals using the 6.5 cent sales tax fund which included items such as replacement of MNS-V2 VAV control at Webster Junior High in the amount of $372; replacement of a suspended heater motor and fan blade; repairs to a boiler and repairs to a flow switch in a chiller.

nApproval to pay the invoice to Storer Equipment Co. in the amount of $1,785 from the district 6.5 cent sales tax fund for the replacement of the communication link in the WJH field house to the main building control system that was struck by lightning.

nApproval to have a change order in the amount of $3,286 to extend and relocate three phone lines at the request of AT&T, at Harper Elementary using QSCB funds.

Because it was accidently stricken from the agenda the vote to give a $10,000 one-time retirement incentive to certified teachers that have completed or currently participating in DROP or retirees who have returned to work was tabled until the next meeting.

The next school board meeting will be April 16 at the Central Office at 6 p.m.






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