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Enrollment declines could cost 27 classroom positions

Numbers could change, but right now the Fayette County School System is looking at losing funding for more than 27 classroom teachers and parapros, mostly due to declining enrollment.

Human Resources Director Reanee Ellis last week gave Board of Education members an initial look at the possibility of losing 27.45 classroom positions.

Ellis told the board that the school system has lost 1,050 students since August 2007.

Funding for the school system’s budget comes largely from local property tax revenues and from state funding known as QBE (Quality Basic Education) dollars. And QBE funds are tied to the number of students attending the school system.

Outlining the initial net reduction in an initial summary of personnel allotments for the 2011-2012 school year that begins in August, Ellis explained that 18.95 would come from elementary schools and 11.9 from high schools. Middle schools are expected to add 3.4 classroom positions.

In the county’s elementary schools, the largest loss of staff would come from the reduction of 17 parapros funded for the past two years by federal stimulus dollars. Those dollars were effective for only two years.

Ellis explained that the school system is working to place those parapros in comparable positions that are being vacated. To date six of the parapros have received placements for next year and placement arrangement for the remainder are in process, Ellis said.

The county’s high schools are expected to see 11.9 fewer allotted classroom positions next school year. Ellis said that total includes a reduction of 5 regular education teachers, 2.9 special education teachers, 2 IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) teachers and 2 IDEA parapros.

Middle schools could be least affected, with the reduction of one IDEA teacher and the addition of 3.9 special education teachers and .5 regular education teachers, for a net increase of 3.4 positions.

The complete story on classroom positions is still unknown and depends on conditions such as budget allocations during the current General Assembly session and, on the local funding level, the amount of money expected to be generated by property taxes later this year.

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