School Systems Discuss Job Cuts

By: Marie Luby Email
By: Marie Luby Email

Kentucky schools cut 975 jobs and counting.

The cuts are to make up for cuts in the state's two-year budget.

The Kentucky School Boards Association is surveying all of the state's school districts and so far, the cuts include more than 400 teaching jobs and about 520 classified positions.

Salaries take an 80% chunk out of the Perry County School System’s budget and balancing the books meant laying off 48 teachers aides.

“That was detrimental not only to our school system but to the community as well because, small rural community, I mean we know these families, and we know what that means to not have a job, not have health insurance,” Jody Maggard, Perry County Schools Financial Officer, said.

Perry County and many other districts aren't filling vacancies left by retirements.

In Pulaski County schools, class size for Kindergarten through third grade is up from 20 students to 24, the largest the state will allow at the primary level.

“When you are increasing the number of pupils to a teacher, when you are maybe having to lose classes because you don't have as many English teachers or Social Studies teachers, that's a concern,” Brad Hughes said.

Surveyors plan to use the data to lobby the 2009 General Assembly for additional funds, because they say the retirements and the reserve money that school districts relied on so much this year, won't be there to bail them out next time.

“That means to us that if that funding is going to remain the same as it is this year, then the board is going to have to make more hard decisions and usually that relates to personnel,” Maggard said.

School officials worry if the trend continues it will turn bright graduates away from a career in teaching.

Calls to other school districts in the region were not immediately returned.

Surveyors aren't yet releasing county by county numbers they're still collecting data.

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