In anticipation of a budget that could be from $5.6 million to $10.3 million smaller next school year, the Marana Unified School District has given reduction-in-force notices to 64 certified employees as well as eight administrative and "exempt" workers.
The potential cuts were agreed upon by the MUSD governing board last Thursday and Friday.
"This is another difficult year for the district and our employees," said Dr. Doug Wilson, superintendent of Marana schools, in a prepared release. With a revenue decrease of up to $10.3 million, atop the $8.6 million reduction previously experienced, "MUSD will be tremendously impacted."
It's not a certainty that all 72 positions will be eliminated.
"We can only hope the special election on May 18 regarding the temporary 1-cent sales tax will be successful," Wilson said. If the tax passes, MUSD expects to have $5.6 million — rather than $10.3 million — less in revenue, "allowing us to rehire some employees."
The 64 certified positions that could be eliminated are teachers, counselors, librarians and instructional coaches. Currently, the district has 803 certified positions, spokeswoman Tamara Crawley said.
MUSD has 54 administrative ositions. Six of them, all associate principal positions across the district, may be eliminated.
Employees identified as "exempt" in MUSD include managers, facilitators and coordinators. There are 47 such positions. One full-time
coordinator in MUSD's Extended Learning Opportunity program, who oversees pre-school and Learning and Enrichment at Play before- and after-school programs, has been notified of potential job loss, as has a half-time facilitator in MUSD's gifted education program. The gifted position was funded through a grant that is ending.
"While we are fortunate that we were able to minimize the impact to our students this past year, it has now become impossible to address budget issues without having a direct impact to our employees and our students," Wilson said. "A large number of our employees who have worked tirelessly and with passion and dedication to the students and parents within our community are being laid off, at absolutely no fault of their own. This is a very tough time."
Because of statutory requirements for issuance of contracts, MUSD must develop next year's budget now so it can give April 15 notification to any certified, administrative and exempt employees who could lose jobs through reduction-in-force, Crawley said.
All RIF'd individuals were personally notified by a member of the district's senior staff prior to last week's governing board meetings, Crawley said. They receive an official, formal RIF letter after the board's votes.
The district anticipates an action item at its April 22 school board meeting regarding reduction in force of support staff. There are 885 support positions in the district.
No decisions have been made regarding full-day kindergarten for the 2010-'11 school year, the release said. The board was expected to discuss full-day kindergarten for next school year at its 6 p.m. Tuesday meeting.
The Marana Unified School District will continue to operate on a five-day-a-week school year calendar, with no changes to the 2010-'11 school year calendar.
The current fiscal year general fund budget is $74.6 million. A $10.3 million reduction in general fund revenue is MUSD's "worst-case scenario," and the one upon which last week's reduction decisions were made. "The best case, if you want to call it that," is a $5.6 million reduction from the current year's budget if the sales tax increase is approved by Arizona voters on May 18, Crawley said.
MUSD's current student enrollment is 12,917, attending 17 schools. It employs 1,789 employees.
MUSD expects more students in each room
With fewer teachers, Marana Unified School District expects to have more students in each class during the 2010-'11 school year.
In a Friday release regarding the potential elimination of 72 total positions, the district said it anticipates an average of 25 students in each kindergarten classroom, up from an average of 21 this year; 25 in first grade, from 20 this year; 30 in second grade, from 26; 32 in grades 3-6, from 28; and 35 in secondary level classes, up from 30.
"Those are the numbers that have been agreed upon for next school year," based upon fewer teaching positions, said spokeswoman Tamara Crawley. "These are approximate numbers that will vary based on grade level enrollment at each school site, which may result in some classes having fewer or more students than these approximated numbers."