The following is a news release from the Montgomery County Board of Education.
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The Montgomery County Board of Education voted to non-renew 612 non-tenured employees in the first phase of expected ongoing staff reductions at a special called meeting today. Those who will be receiving non-renewal notices include 432 certificated employees (415 teachers and 17 school based administrators, librarians, counselors, etc.) and 180 support workers.
"This is not something we want to do," said MPS Superintendent Barbara Thompson. "We want to keep as many teachers in the classroom as possible. We need the support employees to help teachers do their job and keep the system running. However, until we find a more stable way to fund schools and eliminate proration, we are faced with this dilemma every year."
Montgomery Public Schools non-renewed 638 certificated and 109 support professionals in February of last year. Many of those individuals were rehired once the state supplied the district with a budget and the divisor, which identifies the number of students it takes to earn one teacher unit at each grade level.
Other non-renewals are expected before the end of the school year including cuts of about $2 million in salaries from the central administration area. An additional reduction in force (RIF) is also possible to meet an expected budget reduction of $28.5 million. The district reduced the number of central administration employees last year by over 100 positions.
"The board is faced with a very unpleasant task," said MPS Board President Beverly Ross. "We need teachers in the classroom, but we also have to balance the budget. Borrowing money to pay salaries only prolongs the effects of proration. It is a bitter, but necessary, pill to swallow"
School-based personnel were given their notices this early in the year to allow them to have ample time to look for other work before the end of the school year.
Additional recommendations to save funds are also in the works including the possibility of consolidating non-school buildings, changes to the organization chart and a more aggressive energy conservation plan.
"We urge the legislature and the governor to work quickly to pass a budget for the 2010-2011 school year so we can rehire many of these teachers," added Thompson. "However, we also urge them to put their heads together and come up with a solution to the unstable funding we have in the state. It is impossible to plan or have any consistency in programs when we have no idea from year to year what our budget will be. Consecutive years of proration are having an devastating effect on every system in the state."