Rock Hill schools Superintendent Lynn Moody is expected to go before the school board tonight and propose cutting about 50 jobs to help curb spending next school year.
Elementary, middle and high school teaching positions could be lost along with academic coaches, home school workers and custodians.
Moody said she hopes most job cuts will come from leaving positions unfilled, but expects some layoffs. It's too early to tell how many, she said.
The cuts are part of Moody's latest "financial crisis plan," a proposal outlining her approach to closing a projected $6.7 million budget hole.
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"Although selected to minimize the impact to the classroom, each of the budget reduction measures ... will affect instruction and hamper our ability to achieve our 'Rock Hill Climb,'" Moody wrote in the proposal to the board, a copy of which was obtained by The Herald. While teachers and administrators gave input, Moody wrote, "I evaluated the cuts based on what I believe to be practical, fair and realistic."
With state money for schools still shrinking, districts across South Carolina are again looking for ways to trim expenses.
The Rock Hill school board supported Moody's first crisis plan, which she presented last spring and implemented this school year. Among a variety of measures, it sent employees on unpaid leave, cut programs and charged families fees to enroll students in school and for extracurricular activities.
Moody recommends similar cuts in the proposal she plans to present tonight. The board is expected to vote on whether to adopt the plan at a meeting on April 25. If approved, the district would incorporate some or all of Moody's recommendations when budgeting for next school year.
The latest expected shortfall - $6.7 million - is nearly $2 million less than what the district has been bracing for. At a meeting last month, board members heard the shortfall would be closer to $8.5 million.
Projections from the state have since changed, Moody said.
It's not clear how board members will receive the plan.
While board member Jim Vining said he hasn't made up his mind about the plan, he sees job cuts as unavoidable.
"We've got too many people for the amount of money that's coming in," Vining said.
Moody's plan offers 12 key cuts to save roughly $5 million and a list of several programs started this school year that are expected to save a combined $1.25 million. To make up for the remaining shortfall, she expects to recommend raising taxes and/or tapping district reserves.
Financial crisis plan
The plan is a guideline, and savings are estimates, Moody said. Items could change. If adopted as is, the plan would:
Cut teaching positions: 16 elementary; nine middle school; 12 high school. ($2.44 million)
Send employees on unpaid leave. Two days for teachers and four for all other employees. ($800,000)
Restructure custodial services. This would include job cuts, but it's not clear how many. ($450,000)
Eliminate high school academic coach and home school worker jobs. Scale back the number of days that media specialists and elementary secretaries work. ($309,500)
Redirect money that the state gives teachers for supplies. South Carolina sends teachers a $275 check annually to buy classroom supplies. Last summer, lawmakers gave districts permission to use that money for other things. The loss to teachers is to be offset by charging families $25 to enroll a student, which the district started this school year. ($300,000)
Eliminate four to seven administrative support jobs from the district office. ($200,000)
Charge families for student accident insurance. The district has typically picked up the tab for the insurance. It would be optional for most students and cost $2-$5 a year. Athletes would be required to have insurance, either through their families or the district. Athletes would pay $8 to $10 a year. ($150,000)
Eliminate driver's education in high school. ($100,000)
Reduce parent services. ($100,000)
Eliminate a groundskeeper job and let school athletic staff manage field maintenance. ($50,000)
Eliminate a facilities services job. ($50,000)
Renegotiate a building lease with Head Start. ($30,000 to $45,000)
Want to go?
Rock Hill schools Superintendent Lynn Moody will present her "financial crisis plan" to the school board at a public meeting at 5:30 p.m. in the district office, 660 N. Anderson Road. Anyone can attend.
The district will also live stream the meeting on its website: www.rock-hill.k12.sc.us