DerryNews.com, Derry, New Hampshire

Derry

January 17, 2013

Derry schools face staff cuts for next year

District officials propose cutting 7.5 positions

DERRY — School officials hope to save money next year and could cut staff positions in order to do it.

The district’s teachers association said that’s a bad idea.

At a public budget hearing last week, Derry Education Association president Meg Morse-Barry urged School Board members to reconsider their plan to cut jobs as part of next year’s budget.

The proposed general fund budget number for the 2013-2014 school year stands at $78.6 million, an increase of 1.65 percent over the current school year budget.

The official budget number appearing on the March ballot will increase to $81.1 million with the district’s self-funded food service and other federal programs added in.

Two years ago, dozens of staff cuts were made to save money. This time, officials want to cut 7.5 positions.

“It’s disappointing to be in this position again,” Morse-Barry said. “We understand the reduction, but cutting 7.5 positions is an enormous amount to cut.”

Derry joins other communities facing shortfalls in money coming from the state for adequacy aid. The district will also have to pay more in state retirement and health-care costs for its employees.

District business administrator Jane Simard said every item in the budget, every possible place to save money, was studied. School Board members, the volunteer fiscal advisory committee and school administrators worked together to forge a fiscal plan for next year.

“We looked at every line item to make cuts or increases wherever they needed to be,” Simard said.

She said the district’s schools are all in good shape, so some major renovation projects could be put on hold.

Student enrollment numbers also factored in to what staff cuts could be made.

Right now, the district has 5,876 students enrolled in grades K-8, at Pinkerton Academy, homeschooled or placed in out-of-district locations for services.

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