ARLINGTON -- After saying two weeks ago that he hoped school district job cuts had ended for now, Superintendent Jerry McCullough told the school board Thursday night that he needed to cut 104 more teacher and teaching assistant positions.
The cuts are in the community-based pre-kindergarten and special-education programs, which he said would continue to operate. However, the pre-kindergarten locations that the district staffs will be reduced from 18 to 14.
The job losses now total 642, including 240 teaching positions, which will be reduced through attrition. All nonteaching jobs end in June.
The total was at 538 on April 7 after the school board approved McCullough's recommendation to eliminate 24 administrative positions. At that time, he said he hoped that would be end of the personnel changes until next year's budget process.
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But he said that continued uncertainty over state funding, coupled with a report from a special-education consultant, prompted him to act now.
"It changes every day, what we have to do," he said after the meeting.
McCullough cut four teachers and all 18 teaching assistants at the pre-kindergarten sites, along with 36 teachers and 46 teaching assistants in special education.
The job cuts and other reductions add up to $24 million in budget savings, but the district is facing a $38 million revenue shortfall -- about $30 million due to anticipated cuts in state funding.
Those employees who have avoided the ax are seeing their contracts shortened. At the meeting, the school board approved one-year contract extensions for employees whose terms would expire at the end of this school year, while taking no action on two-year contracts.
Marilyn Evans, assistant superintendent for personnel, said the district has been paring down contract terms over the past two years.
"We found out we were pretty rare in the state for giving two-year contracts," she said. "In these financial times, [one-year terms] give us great flexibility."
District officials also disputed contentions by several minority representatives that the job cuts have hit minority employees disproportionately.