UPDATE: Davenport schools cutting 83 certified positions next school year

UPDATE: The Davenport School Board has voted to approve the proposed budget-cutting plan that includes eliminating 83 certified staff members.

The approved plan amounts to $13 million in cuts for next school year.

The decision comes after a misunderstanding that the board had four years to balance the budget as opposed to just two years.

After the cuts, the district expects to have over a million dollars left over.

Previously:

DAVENPORT, Iowa-- At the end of a special school board meeting Wednesday, Nov. 28, the Davenport School Board came to a consensus to slash the district's budget by $13 million by the end of next school year.

The agreement comes after the school district says it found out from the state that it had to get its budget balanced in less than two years, instead of over the next four years.

"We misunderstood that it was over a two year period," board vice-president Linda Hayes said during the meeting.

The district now has to have a balanced budget to the School Budget Review Committee (SBRC) tomorrow. The school board will vote on a two-year plan and a five-year plan at 3:45 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 29.

The current plan includes cutting 83 certified staff positions. That's teachers, math and reading coaches, nurses, counselors and media specialists. Originally, the district was only looking to cut 10 of these positions next year. These cuts make up over a third of the reductions, $5.5 million.

Class sizes will increase as a result.

Several administrators and social worker positions will be realigned. $300,000 will be cut from the special education program, which is under tight scrutiny from the state.

Between 20 and 40 paraeducators, secretaries and other staff will be cut as well next year.

Administrative services, such as human resources and business services, will see a more than a $1.4 million cut.

After the cuts, the district expects to have over a million dollars left over.

Board member Bruce Potts said declining enrollment is a problem the district has been dealing with for years.

"Our enrollment has declined and declined and declined, and we haven't reduced teachers,"  he said.

During the meeting, which was originally listed as a board discussion only, some parents scolded the board for the district's situation.

"I'm asking you all to step down," Lori Janke said. "You are not worthy to lead our school district."

Others blamed the state for the laws restricting the district financially.

"Hey, State of Iowa. Are you done with the torture yet?" parent Ann Mcglynn said. "Is there anyone out there in the state government with a shred of mercy?"

Staci Hupp with the SBRC told News 8 the committee doesn't give districts five-year timelines to get back on budget. Districts are expected to provide plans to get back on track the following school year.

Hupp says the state is also going to conduct a Phase II visit to the school district, something that is rare and doesn't usually happen for bigger school districts. Next year, the Iowa Department of Education will be reviewing Davenport's special education program, the disproportionately, budget and school programming.