Logan City School District employees are holding their breath as the threat of layoffs looms. District administrators will have to lay off employees in order to make up for budget cuts in fiscal year 2012.In a Board of Education meeting Tuesday, Logan Superintendent Marshal Garrett said beginning May 18, he and the district principals will start the “very emotional process” of making personnel reduction decisions. Garrett said a reduction of 17.7 full-time equivalent positions in grades K-12 are necessary, due to Utah State Office of Education rules and changes made by the Legislature. This means between full-time and part-time teachers, the equivalent of 17.7 full-time salaries must be eliminated.”In my 32 years of education, I’ve never encountered anything like this,” Garrett said.This cut in licensed employees will affect the teacher-to-student ratios in the district. As it stands, the student-to-teacher ratio for kindergarten averages at 1 to 24 per classroom, with 1 to 25 for grades 1-3, 1 to 29 for grades 4-5 and 1 to 180 students per day for grades 6-12.Classified employees will face cuts of $540,000 for fiscal year 2012. Elementary school library media educational specialists will lose hours and health benefits. Parent liaisons for middle and high school will be eliminated, and positions at the elementary schools will be reduced to 3.5 hours per day. Other groups of classified employees will also face reductions.Garrett said he met with negotiation groups from associations representing administrative, licensed and classified employees. The majority said they would rather see a reduction in personnel than a reduction in salary enhancement and benefit options for those still with the district.Ultimately, the superintendent must make the reduction decisions, but he will do so based on principals’ recommendations. Licensed employees with English as a second language endorsements have a greater chance of keeping their employment with the district.Personnel reduction decisions are to be made as quickly as possible, so that the cut employees have the opportunity to search for employment elsewhere.Even after the district decides on how to implement these budget cuts, fiscal year 2013 could prove to be more difficult. For the last two years and for fiscal year 2012, the district has been able to pull money from a capital fund. For 2012, the district is pulling $1 million from capitol funds to cover programs and retiree benefit payments, which lessens the effect felt by budget cuts. However, this capitol fund money will not be available to use next year. Even if budget figures stay the same in 2013 as it is in 2012, the district will have to cut another 15 employees.
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