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In a gut-wrenching, emotional decision, Aledo ISD Board of Trustees unanimously approved a plan Tuesday morning in a special meeting that lasted an hour and 15 minutes to help ease the budget for the 2010-11 school year that could possibly cut 15 teaching positions and reduce teaching salaries across the board by five percent, but will also save academic and special programs in the district.
The district – which has received a superior financial rating by independent auditors for the past 10 years – needed to make the reductions and adjustments due to a state-mandated cap on maintenance and operations budgets.
Trustees opted for the “Reduction in Force” option for two reasons: To save academic programs and lessen the reduction of teaching positions that could be cut.
The other option – called “financial exigency” – could have cut up to 56.25 teaching positions without the across-the-board salary scale adjustments (reduction) but would have also cut academic and special programs.
The Reduction in Force option will still leave the district at a deficit of $453,468 (based on $1.04 M&O tax rate) for 2010-11, but the district would see that figured erased and advance to the plus side of the financial ledger if voters approve a tax ratification election (tax rollback election) that will be called in either late August or early September.
“This is a painful process,” Aledo ISD superintendent Don Daniel said to close the meeting. “Hopefully, the community will get behind us and pass the tax roll back election (in November) and make it less painful on everyone.”
The required 15 positions to be cut is not a solid figure. As of this morning that figure was cut to 14 with a teacher informing the district of retirement, and the number could also be reduced with more retiring teachers or teachers who move on to other districts.
Daniel said he would produce a list of teachers affected by the reduction/attrition of the plan at the regular March 23 board meeting.