Layoffs Expected In Parkway School District Budget Cuts

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Jobs will be lost in West St. Louis County as millions of dollars are being slashed from the Parkway School district budget.  An exact number of positions that will be eliminated is not yet known, but teacher jobs are safe.

"The bottom line is, expenses start to creep up, revenues go down, and we`re at a critical point.  If we don`t do something now we`ll be in trouble down the road.  It`s time to do it and be proactive about it," said Assistant Superintendent Desi Kirchhofer.

The staff members who will be impacted are mainly specialists in the areas of reading and math, who provide individual help for kids in struggling in those specific subject areas.  Employees who help teachers fix computer problems, or help teachers work computer technology into their classrooms will also be cut.  Teaching assistants, some secretaries, and part time employees who monitor students during lunch and recess are also facing elimination.

While teachers are safe, losing this support staff will impact them, which will impact students, said parent Mollie Gulino.

"A classroom teacher, no matter how outstanding, does not have the time to allow a child struggling with subject content to work at their own pace while challenging the rest of the class," she told the board.  "No amount of professional development can replace the work of a specialist or make time stand still."

Each school district department will have their individual budgets cut by 10 percent, including the athletics department.

The cuts total somewhere between $7 and 9 million.  Kirchhofer said the district hopes many of the staffing goals are achieved through attrition, but some layoffs in the secretarial and part time positions are likely.

While they say they expect to maintain current classroom sizes, they approved cutting out the hard and fast 'caps' on elementary classes.  That does mean some teachers could have slightly more students than they have in years past.

"Everything we do is based on best practices," he said.  "Every intent is to make sure kids are getting quality education they deserve."

The district will also stop sending high school reprot cards to a home address.  Grades will be delivered electronically to a parents` email account, to save the cost of printing and postage.