Teaching staff reductions on the horizon

With $1.1 million shortfall looming, Grafton board poised to take cost-saving measures
By 
JOE POIRIER
Ozaukee Press Staff

The Grafton School District will eliminate one teaching position and reduce the time for several other staff members for the next school year in the face of a $1.1 million budget deficit. 

The School Board on Monday approved sending preliminary non-renewal notices to the affected staff members. Although most are part-time employees who will see a reduction in hours but remain with the district, at least one employee will be let go, officials said. 

Officials said they do not expect the staffing decision to change before May’s Finance Committee meeting, when the district’s preliminary budget for 2019-20 will be discussed. 

“Because of course selection, we don’t need our part-time teachers in those positions anymore. We also have fewer special -education students, so we have a reduction in our special education department,” Business Director Topher Adams said.

Adams said the decision is a result of scheduling changes, enrollment projections and students’ course selections. Officials said there will be a net decrease of 3.19 positions next year. He said the affected teachers are in the core classes of math, social studies and science. 

Adams said the projected cuts will save the district $134,469 in expenditures.

While there are decreases in staffing, the district plans to increase its business education and consumer sciences departments by 0.77 position because more students are selecting those courses, Adams said.  

The district is expected to replace three elementary teachers, a high school math teacher, a physical therapist and an elementary special-education teacher. Adams said he is budgeting for those positions with the assumption that all new hires will choose family benefits.

In January, Adams told the board the district is projected to have a $1.1 million deficit for next year. Along with the staffing changes, Adams said cutting $416,636 in furniture and classroom upgrades from the budget could help remedy the shortfall. He said the upgrades were for classrooms not part of last year’s $39.9 million school facilities project, which was approved by voters two years ago in a referendum.

“We knew we could eliminate that because we knew the budget could be tight,” Adams said.

Adams also said the projected budget doesn’t include additional state funding. He said, however, he believes the district will receive about $400,000 in per-pupil aid.  

“The state could give us some additional funds for special-ed and per-pupil aid,” he said. “Those options could get us close to within $200,000 of the budget.”

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Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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