Broken Arrow Public Schools To Consider Furloughs
By Ashli Sims, The News On 6
BROKEN ARROW, OK -- Nearly 300 Broken Arrow School employees could have to take four days off without pay by the end of June.
Broken Arrow school sites and other departments have seen their budgets slashed by 25 percent. The district now relies on volunteers or other teachers, instead of substitutes. School officials say those cuts aren't enough.
"They want to put as much money in the bank as possible to prepare for the worst and hope for the best," said Keith Isbell, Broken Arrow Schools Spokesperson.
The worst case scenario means most 12-month employees will have to take four days off without pay by the end of the fiscal year.
Classroom teachers won't be affected, but almost 60 principals, assistant principals and their secretaries, plus more than 200 support staff would. If approved, the pay cuts would be spread out over the next three months, but the actual days off would be four Fridays in June. The central office building would be closed on those days. The district could save up to $126,000.
Retiring staff members, including Superintendent Dr. Gary Gerber, can use accumulated personal days to satisfy the furloughs, instead of taking the pay cut.
The district says it needs to take action now because next year it could take a $3.5 million budget hit. That translates into roughly 90 teachers. So far, federal stimulus money has blunted the shortfall in state revenues. District officials are worried about keeping those teachers once that stimulus money runs out.
"If we don't do anything, if we say we're in good shape, we're not going to do anything, we're gonna move forward and see what happens, there's potential going into 2011-2012 we'll lose 91 teaching positions because that for us is $3.5 million," said Isbell.
Broken Arrow Public Schools is projecting to carry over a fund balance of $8 million to $9 million into next year. And the district recently sold some property that netted them $400,000.
The school board was supposed to consider the budget reduction plan Monday night, but it has tabled the issue until April's meeting.