After aggressively recruiting math and science teachers from across the nation, school trustees are expected to decide Tuesday night whether to cut funding for additional help in those areas.
The district sets aside about $1 million a year to offer smaller classes or additional tutoring in math and science. The money pays for 24 teachers, a teaching assistant and a math analyst.
Administrators recommend keeping the funding as is to help some of the district's most academically struggling schools. Trustees could vote to keep, reduce or eliminate the funding.
If the funding is eliminated, officials say the supplemental teachers and staff in the math and science programs would go into the district’s overall employee pool.
Superintendent Melody Johnson has focused on revamping the district's math and science efforts since she arrived five years ago. Those efforts included a multistate recruiting campaign and signing bonuses.
Trustees also will vote on whether to eliminate 207 teaching assistants from pre-kindergarten.
Administrators have recommended cutting assistants to save $4.7 million so that the district can keep the program full-day. But Johnson has urged principals to use campus-controlled federal funds to keep the aides at schools.
The district faces up to $95 million in state cuts over the next two years.
Trustees will also vote on whether to change the formula for the district's terminal pay incentive, a retirement bonus for some employees.
Johnson has said the incentive is an unfunded liability that could cost the district about $50 million over 14 years. The money for the payouts comes from the district's general fund.
The bonus was offered until 2003 to attract new employees. About half of employees qualify for terminal pay; 1,247 are eligible to retire this year and receive the bonus.
Last year, the district paid out $1.6 million in terminal pay and about $2 million each of the two years before that. The average payout was $9,151 last year.
The payout formula divides an employee's salary at retirement by 183 days and multiplies it by the number of service years.
Administrators recommend changing the formula to cap the years of service and salary at this year's level and to calculate the rate using the actual contract days of the employee, which are typically 187, 240 or 260 depending on the position. More contract days would reduce an employee's payout. Administrators recommend that the number of days not be altered for employees making less than $43,000.
Officials say changing the formula could save the district about $21 million.