Lack of State Funding May Cause Dozens of Teachers To Lose Their Jobs

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The Iredell-Statesville School District is preparing for cuts that could see dozens of teachers lose their jobs. The district is grappling with a lack of funding from the state government and isn't sure how they will make up the difference. From the Statesville Record and Landmark article,

Last week, Iredell-Statesville Schools’ Board of Education approved using fund balance to cover budget deficiencies for the third straight year, effectively putting off any decision about cuts. But when the district begins next month planning for the 2015-16 school year, the choices will be much tougher.
 
Most of the district’s remaining savings has been earmarked for student laptops that are part of I-SS’ transition to blended-learning classrooms, and with county and state revenues remaining stagnant, the school system is facing the potential loss of four dozen teachers next school year.
 
I-SS Superintendent Brady Johnson said he is preparing for the “biggest single change to how schools are structured and staffed in the history of the school system.”
“I feel like for three years now we’ve kind of postponed the inevitable,” said Johnson.
 
Larger class sizes, fewer electives and AP courses if cuts come to pass
 
The school board voted 6-1 to use $1.2 million of fund balance to save the jobs of 28 teachers this school year. That amount of money is not likely to be available to cover recurring costs next school year, though, except for emergency purposes. And Johnson said state officials working on estimates of state revenues have informed school districts to prepare for a two-percent cut in general expense dollars as well, which in I-SS would mean $2 million to pay teachers. And that means around 50 in total would lose jobs.
 
“When we start registering kids in February, we will register our children with the assumption that we will have much fewer teachers,” Johnson said.
 
If the expected cut to general expense comes to pass, Johnson said there will be “larger class sizes everywhere,” fewer elective classes and advanced placements (AP) courses because minimum thresholds will have to be raised and more online classes. The potential also exists for the district’s first-ever combo classes, where students in fourth-and-fifth grades are grouped together.
 
“That’s why we are trying to communicate early with our members of the General Assembly and make sure that they know that if that does become a reality what the consequences look like,” Johnson said. “This will fundamentally change the way classrooms are structured.”

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