District 5 Schools Site
A site dedicated to providing the parents, teachers, students, and staff with all of the current information regarding their schools!
Frequently asked Questions
1) Is our system in trouble financially?
While our system is feeling the economic woes being felt by individuals and businesses across the nation, we feel confident that with the cooperation of our communities, we can meet the needs of our students and teachers. The passing of Amendment 1 made great strides towards our financial stability and the funds being borrowed by the system are meant to act more like "bridge loans" in order to pay employees early for the holidays and could possibly help us in the event that the state has future shortfalls in education dollars. It will be important that our system scour the budgets (just as other companies and cities have done recently) to find areas where dollars can be saved and duties can be realigned in order to make better use of our time and money.
2) How many teachers and staff positions were cut in the school system?
Our first order of business was to look at the central office to see where cuts could be made. Each individual director was asked to make a presentation to the board outlining all possible cuts in their departments. This resulted in cutting expenses and several positions in each department resulting in a savings of hundreds of thousands of dollars. The action taken was an implementation of transfer and retirement incentives allowing many of our teachers and staff to exit the system or move about the system. With all of these steps in place, the board was still forced to cut close to 400 teacher and staff positions across the county. The number of positions cut per school was fairly allocated with population and need taken into careful consideration.
3) What about the stimulus money? I thought that money was going to save jobs!
The board and staff was also hopeful that the stimulus money would help us save jobs. unfortunately, the more information we get about the stimulus package, the more doubtful we are that the funds will help us at all. The rules and regulations attached to the stimulus money have tied our hands as a system. The funds will largely go to Title I schools (low income) and Special Ed programs. Very little of the money will be allowed to pay teacher salaries or cover any other types of expenses. In short, it will do little to help us save jobs.
4) Why did the board vote to freeze step raises?
In an effort to keep more teachers and staff employed, the board voted on Wednesday, May 27 to freeze annual step raises. The board members truly struggled with this issue, all giving very good arguments for and against making this move. It simply boils down to this. How does one justify giving raises to 1900 employees while at the same time laying off 350? Isn't it better to make a small sacrifice in order to have more people working? Freezing step raises saves the system $1.3 Million. This figure is equivalent to roughly 22 jobs. But not just 22 jobs, that's 22 families, and scores of dependent children and family members. I did ask the staff, however, to take all steps necessary to insure that these 1900 employees are not permanent victims of the economy. If they should retire, they should be caught up so that their retirement is not permanently affected. In addition, when the economy and consequently, the system is back on its feet, it should be the first priority to incrementally "catch them up" to where they should be at that time.
5) How many positions will we get back?
At this time, we have no way of knowing how many positions can be re-hired. All calculations of transfers and retirements must first be evaluated, then HR will determine the dire needs of each school based on ADEM and classes. This will determine how many (if any) positions can be filled.
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