ARLINGTON -- School Superintendent Jerry McCullough tonight will propose eliminating 25 administration jobs -- including three directors and 12 assistant principals -- to address state funding budget reductions.
As part of a reorganization, McCullough has eliminated 43 noncontract administrative employees, including coordinators and secretaries. While McCullough doesn't need board approval to eliminate those jobs, he plans to outline his recent actions to the board tonight, district spokeswoman Leslie Johnston said.
Eliminating the 68 positions would save $2.6 million, officials said.
"It's a shame that we have to let anybody go," board Vice President Peter Baron said. "But the direction the board gave the superintendent was to start at the top, to make administrative cuts. We're trying to protect the classroom as much as we can."
Eliminating the 25 contract positions is a two-step process. McCullough said he will return to the board next Thursday with details, including the jobs and employee names, and ask trustees to take final action. The administrative contracts expire this summer.
The noncontract employees were notified Friday, and their jobs continue until the end of June, which is the end of the district's fiscal year.
The district is trying to plug an estimated $35 million gap in state funding but faces a $48 million deficit because of an existing $13 million deficit. The administrative cuts would push the total number of job reductions since early February to 538 -- more than 6 percent of the district's work force. Eliminating those jobs, programs and departments would save almost $22 million. And McCullough plans to announce additional cost savings tonight, Johnston said.
The targeted administrative positions to be decided by the board include Malcolm Turner's job as executive director for student services, Lorie Bruns' as library services director and Teresa Williamson's as staff development director. Bruns and Williamson have already announced that they are retiring.
The jobs of both assistant athletic directors, O.J. Kemp and Anthony Criss, are also on the list.
Other positions include eight high school assistant principals and four junior high assistant principals, along with eight coordinators and specialists in several special education and other programs.
"We're not looking at them by name; we're looking at them by positions," board President Gloria Pena said. "In this restructuring, we're looking at how we can move things around. Those functions are still needed, so we're going to do more with less."
McCullough said the reductions would not be reversed if the state unexpectedly and significantly eased up on its funding cut to the district. "These would be reductions for the long haul," he said.
"We've been running a deficit, so we have to clear that up."
The district is using attrition rather than layoffs to eliminate classroom teacher positions. More than 200 such jobs are among the announced cuts.
The move was praised by local teacher organizations that pointed out that the district historically has had to fill about 400 vacancies a year because of normal turnover.
However, because of the depressed job market, the turnover could be much lower, district officials said.
Larry Shaw, executive director of the United Educators Association, said it didn't make sense to lay off teachers and face expensive termination challenges as well as unemployment compensation costs.
"So smart districts started making some smart choices," Shaw said. "Arlington has gotten smart."
The district could have avoided the termination challenges if all teachers to be laid off were notified by April 18.
But McCullough said that with the state still grappling with the budget, the statutory deadline doesn't allow time to determine how much staff cutting is needed.
"When you don't know how much funding you're going to lose from the state until June, you're just guessing," he said.