Education Cuts Threaten Elementary School, More Than 30 Jobs in Haywood Co.
Years of cuts to public education from Politicians in Raleigh are taking their toll on Haywood County schools. Faced with a $2.4M budget shortfall, the school board unveiled a series of proposals, including shutting down an Elementary school and eliminating more than 30 jobs. School officials say they are proud that Haywood Co. is one of the top 15 school districts in the state and will try to fight the policies hurting them from Raleigh.
A proposal to close Central Elementary School in Waynesville is only one piece of a sweeping and wide-reaching plan to close a $2.4 million budget shortfall being faced by Haywood County Schools next year, including the elimination of more than 30 staff and teachers.
Closing Central Elementary School would save less than half a million a year.
“It is fair to note that even if the board decides to close Central Elementary School, that is only about 20 percent of the $2.4 million we have to come up with for our budget to be solid and operational into the future. So additional decisions need to be made,” Assistant Superintendent Bill Nolte said.
School officials unveiled a long list of suggested cuts to close the $2.4 million gap, saying they are doing everything they can to protect the quality of education.
“We have worked very, very hard to become the 15th top-ranked school district in the state and we are going to go out of our way to maintain that high academic performance,” Nolte said.
The recommendations unveiled this week include just about everything from cuts to sports, band, chorus and other extracurricular activities to cuts in supplies like postage, copies and computers.
School officials combed through every line of the budget, cutting anything they could get their hands on, from a reduction in cell phone reimbursements to reorganizing the bus system.
But cuts of the $2.4 million magnitude couldn’t be realized without axing positions. The list of proposed cuts includes the elimination of 22 primary teacher positions, two assistant principals, two clerical positions and more than half a dozen support teachers.
The school board voted Monday night to give preliminary approval to the list of cuts, essentially giving school administration permission to use the cuts as a baseline to begin crafting next year’s budget.
School Board Member Rhonda Schandevel cast a symbolic vote against the $2.4 million budget adjustment, however. Schandevel said she supports the school administration and realizes their hands are tied in making the budget adjustments to reflect the financial reality. Yet she hoped her “no” vote would send a message.
“I cannot sit idly by while our traditional public schools systems are attacked,” Schandevel said. “My vote will be in clear protest of these policies.”
School Board Member Jimmy Rogers joined Schandevel in a symbolic “no” vote.
“We have to stand up to Raleigh. I don’t know how to get there but we have to challenge it,” Rogers said.