20 Aug 2014
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Ladue School District Ready To Move Forward With Budget Cuts

Teachers are already learning of cuts and reassignments.

Ladue school administrators have chartered a course they hope will take the district through tight economic times, and as a result, go from having a deficit in the 2011-2012 budget to a surplus. The plan, released late Friday afternoon, includes layoffs, the reassignment of a number of staff members, and almost $500,000 in transportation cost savings, among other measures.

Spokeswoman Susan Dielmann said any staff impacted by the changes were informed Thursday and Friday, with a total of seven employees losing their jobs s a result. Five of them were full time positions. To demonstrate the amount of maneuvering which took place in reassigning staff, Dielmann described a hypothetical situation whereby a teacher who may currently be working in 7th grade this year may be assigned to teach 4th grade next year, depending on the certification levels of several staff members. The plan accounts for 37 employees retiring.

Patch was contacted by several parents of district students who were upset with how teachers learned of the changes. Dielmann acknowledged Sunday that some teachers were notified during classes while others were informed during planning periods and that in a perfect world, that wouldn't have happened. She said that there was concern over giving the difficult news "gently and humanely as possible." She added that "in no instance were teachers required to go back into classrooms for the rest of the day," after getting notified of their layoff or reassignment.

Dielmann said the district plans to send out notices to staff, parents and students to try and clear up any misconceptions about the decisions.

The plan also reflects administrative changes. Assistant Principals would be paid for 10.5 months of work instead of 12. Instituting a four day work week during the summer would mean a savings of $50,000, for example. Implementing a $50 High School Activity Fee and a $25 Middle School Activity Fee would generate an additional $60,000 for the district. If taken as a whole, the entire combination of cuts and so-called "revenue enhancements" would actually mean $313,881 in surplus for the district.

Not included yet in the district's planning are items related to eliminating programs. Budget Task Force members have previously pointed out the risk of cutting elementary school foreign language programs, for example, which are typically identified as a state and federal indicators of strong schools, along with being popular with parents.

High school Students are reportedly planning a peaceful protest to the teacher layoffs Monday morning.

School Board members will review the recommendations Monday night in open session at 7 p.m. at .

Click here to read the meeting agenda and the budget presentation.

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