The Bibb County school board unanimously voted in a called meeting Tuesday to cut about 60 jobs over the next few months.
Myra Abrams, the district’s human resources director, presented a reduction-in-force plan that would eliminate jobs from across the spectrum, including principals, teachers, secretaries, custodians and counselors.
The main reasons for the cuts are school consolidations and the ending of grant programs such as Race to the Top, Elementary and Secondary School Counseling, and Hartley Elementary’s School Improvement Grant.
“We have identified positions where grant funds are ending June 30, and we’ve also identified, through the school consolidation plan, positions that will need to be reduced,” interim Superintendent Kelley Castlin-Gacutan said.
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Abrams said some employees whose jobs would be cut would have options, including applying for transfers to similar jobs within the system, remaining on the reduction-in-force list and be referred to vacancies when they come open, or retiring.
“Priority consideration will be given to all impacted employees to fill vacancies as they become available,” Abrams said.
According to the system’s time line, employees whose jobs would be cut should expect to be notified by March 6.
Castlin-Gacutan noted that the job cuts doesn’t necessarily mean 60 or so people will be out of work.
“In previous years when we’ve had a reduction in force, we’ve been able to retain most of our employees through attrition,” she said.
The biggest reason for the layoffs is because of the plan to consolidate several Bibb schools over the next couple of years, which will mean losing three principal positions.
After a closed-door session Tuesday night, the board announced that Janice Sharpe would become the principal for the Rice and Burghard elementary school consolidation while Shandra Yarbrough will be the principal at the new Dr. Martin Luther King Elementary.
Also Tuesday, the board passed six resolutions that dealt with phasing out and closing several schools as part of a district-wide school consolidation plan.
The multi-faceted consolidation plan will move students at Burghard, Rice, Jones and King-Danforth elementary schools to new locations.
Starting next school year, Jones and King-Danforth students will relocate to the new MLK school. Also in the fall, Bloomfield Middle School will combine with Ballard-Hudson Middle School and leave the Bloomfield building open for a consolidation of Rice and Burghard students.
Another move will put Barden and Morgan students in the new Veterans Elementary School by August 2016.
Ron Collier, the school system’s chief financial officer, previewed the fiscal 2016 budget with the board, highlighting a few items that would need to be considered including: changes in state funding, fluctuations in student enrollment and the upcoming choice of a new operational system. Bibb schools, like others across the state, will have to choose to remain status quo or move to an Investing in Educational Excellence or charter system model.
Collier stressed to the board that the numbers he presented were not part of the upcoming budget. He said he would have a better idea about the budget once the current legislative session ends in the next few weeks.
“As time goes on, we’ll have better information,” Collier said.
The board currently has planned budget work sessions March 17 and April 14, with an additional meeting set for May 8 if necessary.
To contact writer David Schick, call 744-4382.