Find out more →

Get unlimited access. Become a digital member!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Pulaski District to cut jobs, seek employee givebacks to balance budget

Posted By on Mon, Feb 13, 2012 at 1:37 PM

PROPOSES CUTS: Superintendent Jerry Guess.
  • PROPOSES CUTS: Superintendent Jerry Guess.
The state Board of Education heard today from Pulaski County School District officials on plans to correct declining fund balances and balance the fiscally distressed district's budget in 2012-13.

Jerry Guess, named to lead the district after the state took it over eight months ago, said, without changes, the district would finish in the red more than $13 million next school year. He's already identified $6.6 million in savings, the majority from a reduction in force of 77 employees, most of which he hopes to achieve by attrition, and by continuing to leave unfilled positions vacant. There are also scheduled savings in insurance, from a bell schedule change and a new copier contract, among others.

But, he said he'd begin negotiations tomorrow with the teacher and non-certified employee unions to produce $7 million more in savings. He'll ask them to reopen their contracts. The savings would come from givebacks in the some $16 million paid in benefits in excess of minimums required by state law. Potential changes include having an unpaid hour of lunch or break supervisory duty each week, loss of enhanced payment for in-district development courses and reductions in paid leave time.

Guess said his first objective will be to convince the unions the situation is "critical" and "fatal if not corrected." He said he'd move in a serious and non-combative way. But he added, "I do have a plan for unilateral implementation of the district's last, best and final offer."

He said past administrators had failed in oversight responsibility in granting more than the district could afford.

Guess said coaches would be among the areas cut, in response to a question from Dr. Ben Mays, a long-time critic of over-emphasis on athletics in Arkansas schools. Mays pressed on, wondering how as a philosophical matter the state could justify athletic spending, not required in the state funding formula, in a fiscally distressed district. District officials said local property tax, in excess of state funding, provides leeway for athletic and other spending. Mays wondered whether districts should go to voters for millages specifically devoted to athletics.

Others noted that the discussion didn't touch substantially on the city's significant facility needs.

Though the state board today put the district, without objection from its leaders, on a higher level of state fiscal distress, Guess said there was no cause for parents to be alarmed about quality of education, though he acknowledged it was "paradoxical" to talk of a crisis while saying there was nothing for parents to be worried about.

Tags: , , ,

Speaking of...

Comments (23)

Showing 1-23 of 23

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-23 of 23

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Apple CEO Tim Cook is gay

    Apple CEO Tim Cook has announced that he is gay. We still live in a world where this will matter to some people.
    • Oct 30, 2014
  • UA's Arkansas Poll shows broad Republican sweep at polls

    The University of Arkansas's Arkansas Poll was released early today and it showed broad Republican preferences among likely voters in major election contests, including Tom Cotton over Mark Pryor for Senate, Asa Hutchinson over Mike Ross for governor and generic Republican preferences in congressional races.
    • Oct 30, 2014
  • More »

Most Shared

  • Koch mailer: We know who you are, we know if you vote

    Still more complaints rolling in — including from Republicans — about the mail campaign of the Koch-brothers-funded Americans for Prosperity to scare people into voting.
  • Pat Hays' NRA membership riles Republicans

    Democratic 2nd District Congress candidate Pat Hays is causing conniption fits among Republicans because a new TV ad shows him with his guns and mentions his long-time membership in the National Rifle Association.
  • Talk is cheap; state government isn't: Preparing for the new GOP order

    The state looks at rising prison and school costs in a world where the theme of Republican political campaigns is reducing government and cutting taxes. Does anybody in that party know arithmetic?
  • Live Review: Nahko and Medicine for the People at Rev Room

    Thursday night, Portland, Oregon’s Nahko and Medicine for the People brought their “musical medicine” to Little Rock’s Revolution Music Room, a fitting venue for the socially-conscious music collective. Their uplifting medley of folk, urban and world music, as well as hypnotizing videos featuring their music have enchanted activist-minded music fans across the world in the relatively short time they have been creating music together.
  • What about the Arkansas ballot issues?

    To give the legislature more power, the people less, a wetter state, longer term limits and a bump in the minimum wage.

Most Viewed

  • UA's Arkansas Poll shows broad Republican sweep at polls

    The University of Arkansas's Arkansas Poll was released early today and it showed broad Republican preferences among likely voters in major election contests, including Tom Cotton over Mark Pryor for Senate, Asa Hutchinson over Mike Ross for governor and generic Republican preferences in congressional races.

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2014 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation