53 KUSD teachers will lose jobs soon

District anticipates major funding reductions from state

KINGMAN - With budget cuts coming from the state, the Kingman Unified School District is looking at steps to reduce spending - including eliminating more than 70 teachers over the next two years.

During a special KUSD Governing Board meeting on Tuesday, the administration presented projected budget shortfalls for the 2009 and 2010 fiscal year and options for spending reductions.

Plan

"This is our district's efforts to try to get some type of plan," Superintendent Roger Jacks said.

The board and administration were able to tackle both the financial and construction issues on the meeting, rather than meeting tonight as previously planned.

For the 2009 fiscal year, the state is projected to have a $1.8 billion budget shortfall. The shortfall is projected to increase to $3 billion for the 2010 fiscal year.

With kindergarten to twelfth grade education accounting for 43 percent of the state's budget, KUSD is expecting to see budget reductions, Jacks said.

"We will be addressing the changes as they come," said Wanda Hubbard, director of business and finance.

Earlier this month, the Joint Legislative Budget Committee for the Arizona Legislature submitted an adjusted budget for the 2008 fiscal year. The losses for the kindergarten to twelfth grade education are expected to be around $92 million in 2009 and $1 billion in 2010.

"We're not in a budget deficit right now," Board President Pat Carlin Jr. said. "We're doing all we can to stay within the budget. If the state had done the same thing, we wouldn't be in this predicament."

The district has already frozen approximately $900,000 of their current year's soft capital. The district is left with $22,000 of soft capital for the remaining year now, Hubbard said.

With the freeze, the district put new textbooks' order on hold, Jacks said.

'Right sizing'

In the business world, it's called downsizing. For the KUSD, they have dubbed it "right sizing."

Right sizing is determining the appropriate staffing levels for all employee groups based on the number of students, schools and employees, then making staffing changes to match the formulas, Jacks said.

With right sizing, the district will eliminate 53 teachers, one district-level administrator, one teacher-on-assignment and 12.5 classified staff positions. The district will save $2 million by doing so. It currently has approximately 383 teachers.

For the 2008-2009 academic year, the student to teacher ratio is 22:1 for kindergarten to third grade, 25:1 for fourth grade to twelfth grade.

When the administration did research, they settled on modeling their formula with the Clark County School District, Jacks said.

By right sizing, the KUSD is adjusting the student to teacher ratio to 22:1 for kindergarten through second grade, 25:1 for third to fifth grade, 28:1 for sixth to eighth grade and 30:1 for ninth to twelfth grade.

Each elementary school would have one administrative assistant, attendance technician/secretary, clerk, health attendant/nurse, library technician and principal.

Special education secretaries and assistants, kindergarten assistants, speech/language assistants and assistant principals would depend upon the number of students at the school.

Deeper cuts

Even with the right-sizing model, the state budget crisis is requiring the district to make deeper cuts in the 2010 fiscal year, Jacks said.

To cover the $3.6 million shortfall still expected after right sizing, the district will adjust the student-to-teacher ratio even more to 25:1 for kindergarten through second grade, 27:1 for third to fifth grade, 30:1 for sixth to eighth grade and 32:1 for ninth to twelfth grade. "This is the highest we want to go as an administration," Jacks said.

With the additional reduction of 18 teachers, the district will save $608,000. But the cuts don't end there.

The Joint Legislative Budget Committee is recommending the elimination of funding for full-day kindergarten. The state currently pays for Group A KUSD kindergarten morning classes and Group B afternoon classes.

By eliminating Group B, the state would save $218 million in 2010, while the district would save $650,000.

With other reductions affecting extra duty stipends/positions and paid holidays, the district can save $600,000.

Timeline

With the outlines set, the administration recommended a timeline. In February, the board can approve the administration's staffing recommendations. In March, the 100-day average daily membership and budget figures should be finalized. With a more concrete picture of funding, the district would then notify the teachers and administrators who will lose their jobs.

Jacks and the administration met with principals on Monday to alert them to the new student-to-teacher ratio.

The administration will now develop procedures for the reduction in force and meet again with principals to identify candidates for reduction.

At the March board meeting, the administration would present a balanced budget plan.

In May, the district must give notice of a salary reduction. By the June board meeting, the budget will be finalized for the district.

Federal Stimulus

Like the city, county and state, KUSD has looked at the federal economic stimulus proposed by President Barack Obama. For the KUSD in 2009, this could mean $2.3 million for construction, $723,500 for Title I and $874,500 for special education. For 2010, it is $723,500 for Title I and $1 million for special education.

Even with the stimulus, the funds can't be used to help budget reductions to maintenance and operation.