GREENCASTLE -- Several teaching positions in the Greencastle Community School Corp. may be in jeopardy as the result of budget cuts.
Corporation officials have been trying to trim $471,000 from the corporation's budget since finding out on Dec. 31 that the district's 2010 tuition support funding allocation from the state would be less than expected. Last month, the Greencastle Community School Corp. Board of School Trustees approved work hour cuts for about 25 instructional assistants, which will mean a savings of about $90,000 over a 12-month period.
At Thursday's meeting, Superintendent Robert Green asked the board for permission to prepare Reduction in Force (RIF) letters to be sent to teachers stating their contracts were being canceled. The letters, to be in accordance with statute, would have to be sent out by the first week in March.
"We can rescind them later if we find we've been able to make cuts in other areas," Green said.
Green estimated as many as nine teachers may be laid off. He said meetings with principals and other school officials at each building would be held to determine which positions would be cut. Seniority and area of expertise would also be considered, he said.
"Obviously, we don't want to do that," Board President Barbara Bryan said.
Any teacher who receives a RIF letter would have the opportunity to attend the board meeting where his or her termination would be finalized, as well as to schedule a hearing on his or her dismissal.
Green said if teachers were going to be cut, it would likely be on the board's April agenda.
"I hate doing business this way, but we don't have any other choice," he said. "We have to think about dollars, but we know there are people behind those dollars. These are not decisions we make lightly."
Green said a reconfiguration committee made up of parents, school personnel and others was still working on ideas for cuts.
"We're not making a lot of progress," he said. "Intellectually, everyone knows we need to make cuts, it's 'just don't cut my area.'"
Several other alternatives for cost cutting -- such as closing corporation buildings and cutting athletic programs -- have been discussed.
"All those other things on the list are going to take time," Board Member Jack Berry said.
"At this point, we're going to have to dip into the rainy day fund just to operate," he said. "There are just not a lot of places to cut except personnel. It's painful for everyone, I know."
Greencastle Teacher's Association Co-President Nicole Kempf said she hoped the teachers and administrators would be able to keep an open dialogue going.
"We feel there are more creative solutions to budget cutting than cutting people," she said.