Dozens of teaching jobs on the chopping block in Davenport

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Dozens of teaching jobs are on the chopping block as Davenport leaders work to finalize a budget for the 2015-2016 school year.

On Monday, February 23, 2015, Superintendent Dr. Art Tate presented a recommendation for next year that would cut roughly $3.5 million from the general fund. Most of the savings would come from early retirements, as well as a reduction in 25 teaching positions.

Marsha Tangen, the district's chief financial officer, calls the plan a 'worst-case scenario.' State legislators have still not determined the amount of Supplemental State Aid schools will receive, so the district is forced to assume zero percent increase when setting its budget.

"Right now, we're going on zero, because the legislature hasn't done anything, but that puts us at a guaranty of at least one percent funding," said Tangen.

Tuesday, Board members also opted not to decrease the property tax levy for next year, but keep it at its current level. The money brought in, though, won't help ease any proposed cuts.

Although the district has plenty of money, the state only allows it to spend a certain amount -- a concept known as 'spending authority.'

"The money we will be levying, we cannot spend it, basically. We have to keep it in reserve," said Tangen.

The Board is expected to approve a budget for 2015-2016 at its March 23rd meeting.

1 Comment

  • Tom Yates

    Again, the Davenport School Board should be ashamed to allow more of its bloated, top heavy, non-teaching, positions not to be considered as part of the cost cuts required to meet the current reduced budget. How to correct this problem, recruit new potential Board members to run for office that won’t be influenced by the statistics always used to justify the current ratios of teaching and non-teaching positions. Just because these ratios are within the “norm” doesn’t justified why the non-teaching positions are necessary.
    In the 60’s Davenport had two, three year high schools and four, three year junior high schools. Now Davenport has three, four year high schools and five, three year junior high schools. The elementary schools where changed from six year plus K to five year plus K. The decreased year being moved up to the junior high level. Exact number of current elementary schools not clear with recent closings, announced future closings and announced possible future closings. Ignoring the elementary level school years, each with a one year attendance decrease, the total increase of high and junior high attendance years has increased to 27 from 18, net increase of 50% in 55 years. How can the School Board justify the 50+ fold increases in non-teaching positions within this period. Keep in mind during this period the use of computization was implemented which should have deleted, if not kept constant the old ratios.
    Our tax dollars are for education, not administration. Drive by the old Administration building on the Central High School campus and the new Administration building which was the old Brenton Bank Building on Main Street. You will easily see the difference in physical building size required to house the mammoth increases in non-teaching positions not to mention the numerous school expansions to accommodate the additional on site non-teaching positions.
    Shouldn’t the public know what the ratios of teaching and non-teaching positions are in both numbers and dollars? What is the cost ratios of operations, i.e., salaries, pensions, insurances, physical plants, renewable goods, depreciate-able goods, etc. currently and history per ten year period milestones over a 50 year period. Help the public help the Board making these tough budget decisions.
    STATISTICS: Remember your parents giving you the old teaching moment, “if your Friends jumped off the bridge into the river would you?”. Maybe it’s long past time we as parents, grandparents and taxpayers get a new set of “Friends”.

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