Blue Ridge schools consider combination of layoffs, reserves

2010-03-14T19:00:00Z Blue Ridge schools consider combination of layoffs, reservesBy Steve Hoffman |

FARMER CITY -- The Blue Ridge School District is considering a combination of employee layoffs, budget cuts and the use of fund reserves to make up for an anticipated $600,000 to $800,000 cut in general state aid.

The board will vote Monday on a plan that would trim around $385,000 by cutting eight teachers, three full-time aides and a part-time custodian. Other cuts include summer school, the pre-kindergarten program, elementary Scholastic Bowl and literary contests, some extra-curricular jobs, and high school math contest, among others.

Cuts would have been made next year anyway because of declining grade school enrollment, Superintendent Jay Harnack said, but district leaders hoped to take advantage of four planned teacher retirements.

Harnack termed six of the proposed layoffs as ‘‘contingency'' reductions because they are funded by state grants.

State funding will drop because of the increased assessed value of the district, decreased enrollment, and a possible drop in per-student state funding.

Blue Ridge has about $2 million in fund reserves. Harnack said the district is trying not to hit core programs, but that "if this continues for more than one year, we will have to look at programs or use significant fund reserves."

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