Georgetown County moves on teacher cuts

As the Georgetown County School District works to balance its budget for the 2010-2011 school year, 17 jobs and some teacher incentives hang in the balance.

Superintendent Randy Dozier said he plans to talk to those who face being laid off this week.

"We will continue looking to see if they can be placed elsewhere," Dozier said. "That could change. We could have more people retiring."

The positions set to be cut include one teacher and 16 support personnel, Dozier said.

The school board approved the cuts at their meeting Tuesday night.

When considering whose jobs should be cut, the district looks at years of service, training and qualifications.

The district faces a $3.6 million budget cut from the state in 2010-2011. The district is projected to receive $12.4 million from the state, down from $16 million this year.

Cutting 17 positions will save the district about $670,000, officials said. The district also is planning to eliminate the teacher center to save $25,000; eliminate teacher tuition reimbursement, saving $75,000; reduce contract services and rentals, saving $85,284; and save another $2.3 million by using federal stimulus stabilization funds to pay for some teachers. The actions would free up money in the general fund.

Overall the district is projecting to spend about $68.3 million in 2010-2011.

Finance Director Lisa Johnson cautioned school board members that more changes could be coming from the state. A bill is before Gov. Mark Sanford to freeze teacher pay raises for the 2010-2011 year.

If the bill becomes law, it could mean two furlough days for administrators, which could save the district about $150,000, Dozier said.

However, if the bill does not pass or there are more cuts from the state, it would force the district to consider other cost-cutting measures, Johnson said.

"We could utilize the reserves, increase class sizes, eliminate national board certified teacher supplements and add furlough days," Johnson said. "There are still some things we are waiting to hear back on."