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BISD superintendent wants to eliminate 300 positions to help save $25 million
Beaumont Independent School District superintendent Dr. Timothy Chargois issued a letter Friday about his recommendation for reducing employee positions as part of an effort to cut expenditures by about $25 million.
Click here to read the letter.
He will recommend to the board that the district eliminate 225 contract positions and 75 at-will jobs.
Board member Woodrow Reece tells KFDM News he expects the board to talk about the recommendation at the May 29 meeting, during which the board will hold its first discussions about the 2014-2015 budget.
In his letter to employees, Dr. Chargois says the district is facing "difficult financial challenges that will require serious remedies." He says administrators and the board are "carefully evaluating the District's options to reduce approximately $25 million of expenditures." According to Chargois, personnel costs account for more than 80 percent of BISD operating expenses, making it impossible to balance the budget without eliminating positions, both at-will and contractual.
He says a reduction in force due to financial exigency, and several program changes, are necessary.
In his letter, Dr. Chargois says "as we face these difficult decisions, we are well aware that there are names, faces and careers behind these positions and the painful effects these decisions will have on our community."
Employees affected by the reduction in force are expected to be notified by June 12.
Dr. Chargois says the district will also find other ways to save money, including reducing or eliminating programs, following new staffing guidelines and revising insurance obligations.
Here is some of the reaction KFDM News has gathered from board members about the recommendation:
Janice Brassard/BISD board vice-president: "We have not cut personnel in at least 3 years, if not more, and the state cut our funding. When other districts were eliminating positions all over the state, we didn't. We kept everybody. There's basically no other option."
Zenobia Bush/BISD board member: "I know we're all concerned when it comes to employee layoffs, but when we have to balance the budget, and salaries make up 85% of the budget, you're going to have to look at employee cuts. Some of that will come from attrition but others will have to come from layoffs."
Mike Neil/BISD board member: "I think that it's an unfortunate and appropriate move. We're in a dire financial situation. This reduction in force is something that should have been done two years ago, but we have to deal with the present, so he has my full support. I hope that the appropriate cuts are made, starting with administration. There have been a lot of positions added in the last years that aren't needed."
Woodrow Reece/BISD board member: "We must approve it. We have some tough decisions to make. It has to be done. It's very unpopular but we have no choice. We've done so much when we had money. When we don't have money we can't do it. We're still taking care of our employees better than most school districts. Some people are leaving the district and others are retiring. I don't think we'll have to lay off 300 people. Many of the cuts can be made through attrition. I'd be very surprised if we have to lay off 300 people."