Jordan School District weighs layoffs

Budgets » Other school systems consider pay cuts, tapping reserves.
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Layoffs are imminent in Jordan School District, which is looking to reduce district-level staff next year by the equivalent of 122 full time employees.

The action is among several penny-pinching strategies up for consideration next week by the Jordan school board, which has to shave $25 million from the district's $300 million budget. Final decisions could come as soon as May 26.

"The board is doing all it can to insulate classroom teachers and students" from the cuts, said Jordan Superintendent Barry Newbold on his blog.

About $16 million of the shortfall stems from state budget cuts. The remainder is tied to the district split, effective July 1.

Teachers will be held harmless from job cuts. And much of the reduction in force can be handled through attrition and retirements, said district spokeswoman Melinda Colton. "But there will be layoffs."

Salt Lake City School District is also mapping its 2009-10 budget, looking to carve $8.5 million.

By tapping into reserves and deferring school upgrades, officials hope to save $3 million. Another $1 million will come from increased efficiencies and reorganizations.

Teachers are looking at a week's cut in pay because the Legislature wiped out paid professional training days. That accounts for about $3.5 million, which has the teacher's union complaining teachers are shouldering more of the burden than administrative employees.

When lawmakers axed paid training days, "they made clear districts would have flexibility to share cuts across all employee groups," said Utah Education Association spokesman Mike Kelly, noting some districts have accomplished that with furloughs.

Salt Lake District spokesman Jason Olsen said no furloughs are planned, but efforts are afoot to restore paid training time with other money.

"We may hold [furloughs] as a later option to consider if economy doesn't improve, said Olsen.