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Livingstone Range cuts 21 teaching positions

Livingstone Range School Board will cut a projected 21 teaching positions, and individual school operating reserves will be used to cover an anticipated deficit as enrollment continues to decline.
The school board approved its 2011-’12 budget presented June 14 by associate superintendent for business services Don Olsen.
The budget anticipates revenues of $45,803,059 and expenditures of $46,467,753 resulting in a projected deficit of $664,694.
Full-time equivalent teaching positions have been reduced from 223.185 to 201.875.
These numbers are based on enrollment which has continued to decline, meaning less funding, as well as reductions by Alberta Education to other funding sources.
The projected enrollment in the division is 3,450.5 which is 219 full-time equivalent students or 5.96 per cent lower than September 2010 numbers.
In his submission to Alberta Education, Olsen noted it is hoped the decline will not materialize to the degree budgeted, but the projections are the basis for this budget.
Salary projections incorporate the 4.54 per cent increase for teaching staff and a three per cent increase for most non-certificated staff.
The budgeted divisional deficit of $664,494 is in the instruction block where it will be covered by individual school operating reserves.
Schools have budgeted to have less than $100,000 in total school operating reserves remaining by Aug. 31, 2012, as they have had to use up their reserves in the 2010-’11 and 2011-’12 school year budgets in an attempt to maintain programs to meet student needs.
“Staffing for both certificated and non-certificated positions have been reduced again significantly in the 2011-’12 budget due to enrollment decline and budgetary constraints,” Olsen said. “School operating reserves are budgeted to dwindle to a minimal amount in an attempt to balance their school budgets over the past couple of years.”
Olsen also discussed the staff reductions.
“With the continued enrollment decline and budgetary constraints, staffing is a major issue,” Olsen said. “As staffing numbers continue to decline it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain student programming opportunities.”
“It is challenging to work with staff contractual obligations and yet reduce dramatically the number of staff members working in the schools.”
“As staff layoffs continue year to year and the number of retirements and resignations does not equate to the number of staff reductions, it means that beginning teachers and teachers in the early years of their careers are usually the ones let go.”
“The desired balance of experienced teachers and newer teachers is impossible to achieve.”