Davenport Superintendent presents draft budget reduction plan, proposes 25 teacher cuts

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Davenport School Board members will review a rough draft of what the budget could look like for the next school year in Monday's school board meeting.

Davenport Superintendent, Dr. Art Tate, will present the board his plan for the 2015-2016 fiscal year. The plan includes cutting 25 teaching positions, saving the district $1.5 million, while also offering early retirement benefits to teachers who have been in the district for over 20 years.

To view the Davenport School District's Draft Reduction Plan for 2015-2016 fiscal year, click here.

In his draft, Dr. Tate proposed four teacher positions to be cut at the elementary level, six teacher positions cut from the intermediate level, and 15 teacher positions cut from the high school level.

"Those are some of the most difficult decisions to make, whether it's a board decision or a superintendent decision," said Davenport School Board President, Ralph Johanson. "Teacher cuts are something that none of us want to do."

According to the draft, if enough teachers take the option of early retirement, it could save the school district $836,000 or more.

However, Johanson said that while he understands why it needs to be an option, early retirement poses another problem.

"I don't think it's a sustainable way to have cuts in a budget," said Johanson. "You have a lot of experience and you have institutional knowledge and all sorts of things that are wrapped up in teachers that have been here for a while. It's not so simple to say, it's just money, but teachers with a lot of experience are worth a lot."

Overall, the board needs to trim 8 million dollars from the budget over the next two years.

The 2015-2016 fiscal year reduction plan will have to cover $3.5 million in cuts and will need to be ready by early April.

"We're trying to get close to an approved budget well ahead of that time in case there are any requirements that have something to do with employees," said Johanson. "We want them to know about it as early as possible"

The only thing that could save jobs is a boost in state aid. Right now the district is planning on a 1.25 percent increase in state funding for their per-pupil expenditure.

Johanson said they are fighting for more.

"We're working hard to see if there are other methods where we can increase revenue and offset some of these requirements for budget cuts," Johanson said. "If we can get some of those offsetting revenues it could change all of this in a heartbeat."

1 Comment

  • Tom Yates

    The Davenport School Board should be ashamed for their proposal to eliminate 25 teaching positions as the answer to the budget shortfall. The system is completely bloated with none teaching positions. Why are these positions always off the table when cuts are eminent. Please make a study of teaching compared to non-teaching positions over the last three or four decades. You will find hugh out of proportion increases in the non-teaching positions. Keep in mind during these times computerized systems were invented and put in place that should have decreased not increased the non-teaching positions. When questioned about this inequity all school systems justify the numbers as within “the norm”.
    Well it appears “the norm” isn’t working, corrections have to be made and the administrative policies need to be changed.

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