8 teachers receive layoff notices from Northville district

Northville Central School District sent out eight layoff notices to teachers Friday, part of an effo
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The Northville Central School District sent out eight layoff notices to teachers Friday, part of an effort to keep next budget year’s tax levy increase within the 3.5 percent limit.

Superintendant Kathy Dougherty said the district is looking at possibly laying off support staff, going from full-day to half-day kindergarten and sharing services with other school districts to close a $260,453 gap in the 2012-2013 budget.

Dougherty said the district has to adopt a budget by April 17 and that decisions on staffing are not yet final. She said expenditures in the proposed budget are down 0.14 percent over the current adopted $9.7 million budget.

The district is required by contract to notify its teachers by March 1 of changes in their employment status for the next school year, which begins July 1. Dougherty said the notices indicate that teachers may see their full-time status reduced to part time. Notices were distributed by order of least seniority to teachers in the departments of elementary classroom, social studies, special education, music, speech-language and physical education.

Dougherty said Northville has contract language that requires it to maintain specific class sizes, which prevents further reductions in staff. Northville cannot exceed class sizes of 25 students for kindergarten; 27 for grades one through three; 29 for grades four through six; and 30 for grades seven through 12.

She said class-size restrictions have been in effect for years. They, for example, prevented Northville this year from combining two second-grade classes, each with 15 students, into one class of 30. Northville also has two first-grade classes of 12 and 15 each, which cannot be combined into one class of 27. Dougherty said the first-grade classes started the school year with 15 and 17 and shrunk as children moved out of the district.

Dougherty said the district’s budget advisory committee has not yet made a decision on reducing full-day kindergarten or maintaining college-level credits at the high school. The district does not offer advanced placement courses.

Northville has reduced its staff by 23.6 positions over the past three years in response to the loss of $1 million in state aid. It has eliminated stipends for coaches and club advisers, eliminated field trips, increased classes sizes at all levels, reduced high school electives, changed health insurance provisions and adopted multi-age grouping in elementary classrooms. In addition, all employees in the district took a full salary freeze for the 2011-2012 school year and many members of the staff and community have volunteered to serve as coaches and club advisers.

“The budget advisory committee has been working diligently to analyze the projected ’12-’13 expenditures and creatively close the budget gap without any additional impacts upon the provision of programs and services for our students,” Dougherty said.

“However, with the previous cuts that we have made, we are now at a point of diminishing returns, where every reduction will have a very serious impact upon our students,” she said.

She said the state enacted the tax cap without first putting in place mandate relief, which would have helped districts deal with diminishing revenues and increasing costs. “Their failure to follow through on their promise will result in the failure of our students to receive the level of education that they so desperately need in order to compete with students from other districts and ultimately to reach their college and career goals,” she said.

Categories: Schenectady County

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