Staff cuts part of plan to remove $2.3 million from school district budget

By Liliana Castillo: CNJ staff writer

The Clovis Municipal Schools board of education heard management’s initial suggestions Tuesday to cut $2.3 million from the district’s budget.

Chief Financial Officer Jose Cano presented the board with a budget review for school year 2010-2011, pinpointing a $1.2 million decrease in state funding.

Another $1 million worth of cost increases cut another hole in the budget.

Superintendent Rhonda Seidenwurm said the district hopes to cut expenses by cutting positions, not programs.

Last October, when the Legislature handed down budget cuts, the board slashed about $700,000 worth of expenses through cuts at central office and travel budgets, tightening student and teacher ratios in special education, phasing out certified librarians and moving middle school athletics and sixth-grade band outside the school day.

Seidenwurm said another $1.6 million in cuts will be made by eliminating more than 28 positions:

• Seidenwurm outlined plans to not renew contracts of 10 elementary teachers hired after the school year started.

• Clovis High Schools’ seven-period day will allow for four core teachers to be cut, one each from English, math, science and social studies. Seidenwurm said retirements will handle the cut.

• One careers teacher at CHS Freshman Academy

• One band director and one choir teacher. Band and choir educators will be shared.

• One teacher at Choices Alternative School. Seidenwurm said one teacher has been dedicated to bringing lessons to students in the Curry County Juvenile Detention Center. She said the teacher brought lessons for students who would miss class for three or four days. She said that is a luxury the district can no longer afford. The state requires that lessons be provided after a certain period of time spent in jail, but that other teachers can share that load.

• Two teachers at Marshall Middle School.

• Two and a half electives teachers between middle and high school campuses. Seidenwurm said electives teachers will be shared on the secondary campus.

• One communications specialist.

• Five or six positions out of six special education liaisons, five elementary instructional coaches and five literacy specialists.

Possible additional suggestions include cutting two educational assistants, various stipends, extra days and in-district travel and six after-school coordinators, Seidenwurm said.

Seidenwurm said the board will approve any cuts to the budget during one of the May meetings before the budget is due June 2.

The board also adjourned into executive session for an hour to discuss the reassignment of administrative personnel. President Mark Lansford said the board had no comment after executive session.

In other business, the board:

• Approved curriculum for kindergarten through eighth grade language arts, seventh- and eighth-grade Exploring Spanish I and II, junior and senior SENSE Welding I and II, 10th- through 12th-grade Interior Design I and II, junior and senior Advanced Placement Calculus AB and senior AP Calculus BC.

• Approved a 2010-2011 IDEA-B Application.

• Approved site selection criteria. The site selection criteria contains 14 factors. The three possible sites for a new middle school will be analyzed by FBT Architects.

• Approved a contract with Griego Professional Services of Albuquerque for $49,697 to perform the district’s audit.

• Approved seven budget adjustment requests.