Milton-Freewater schools to cut jobs due to enrollment fall

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MILTON-FREEWATER — The Milton-Freewater School Board has approved cutting seven teaching assistant positions for next school year, offsetting the loss of state revenue from declining enrollment.

The board voted unanimously at its monthly meeting Tuesday to accept interim Superintendent Jim Reger’s recommendation to cut the para-professional positions through a reduction-in-force plan.

Reger said the move will save the district about $238,750 as it prepares its budget for the 2013-14 school year.

Reger said the district lost about 100 students over the last year.

“With that comes the funding for those students,” Reger said.

Reduction-in-force cuts affect employees who have been with the district the least amount of time.

“We’re trying to make the reduction so that we can still provide a full calendar, and to try to replace as many teaching positions as possible,” Reger said. “To do that we needed to do the RIF of the classified for para-professionals. This by no means should say these are not valued employees, and is simply based on seniority.”

The School Board also approved a staffing recommendation to replace as many retiring employees as possible while still seeing some savings. Reger said some positions that are to be vacated by retiring employees will be left vacant, but the goal is to fill as many as possible.

The district expects to save about $294,000 by leaving some positions vacant, and hiring new employees that start at lower salaries than those who retired.

Reger said in all, the district will save about $532,000 through the staffing recommendations for next school year. The district is in the process of planning it’s budget for the 2013-14 school year.

Maria P. Gonzalez can be reached at mariagonzalez@wwub.com or 526-8317.

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