06/23/11 — Schools waiting for final news on budget

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Schools waiting for final news on budget

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on June 23, 2011 1:46 PM

Awaiting the final outcome to the latest reductions and changes to the state budget, officials with Wayne County Public Schools are anticipating whether, and where, personnel changes will take place.

"Right now we're crunching the numbers and trying to get together our plan for the upcoming year," Dr. Steven Taylor, schools superintendent, said this week.

The district historically makes its annual announcement about administrative changes around the county within weeks after the school year concludes.

Re-assignments must be made in time for administrators to be in place July 1, Taylor said. The school board is expected to make the changes official at its July 11 meeting.

At least three principal replacements are in the offing. The school system recently held its annual appreciation reception for retiring employees, recognizing 74 this year, including the three departing principals, 30 teachers and 12 instructional assistants.

Charles Ivey III, principal of Spring Creek Elementary School for 23 years, retired with 35 years in education. Celia James, principal of Meadow Lane Elementary School, was employed by WCPS for 30 years of her 36-year career. Mary Kay James, Rosewood Middle School principal, retired after a 30-year career, 25 years of which were spent in Wayne County.

In some earlier versions of the state budget, personnel cuts were a possibility, especially in the area of assistant principals and instructional assistants.

So far, Wayne County has not had to make any decisions in those areas but since the governor vetoed the budget, the jury is still out on where cuts must be made.

"We're still getting information from (the state)," Taylor said. "We're working hard right now on getting together our plan for the upcoming year. Of course, our goal obviously is to provide the best quality level of services we can but at the same time to protect jobs.

"We know that our cuts this year are going to be more than last year."

The superintendent said his staff has been working on its own budget throughout, bracing itself for the actual "hard numbers" that will be handed down by the state.

"You can't go by it day to day, until the General Assembly actually passes the budget," he said. "We're just pleased that they passed it by before July 1. That gives us an opportunity to work on it before the kids come back to school. We have gotten budgets after school started."

Admitting that the prognosis is more bleak than in years past, Taylor said the fact that there will be actual parameters to work within are helpful.

"This is a better scenario," he said. "The numbers aren't better but at least if I know what we have to work with then we can plan accordingly. We have to play with the hand that's dealt to us."