Aledo board approves reduced pay scale for 2010-11 school year

Aledo school trustees formally adopted a scale of across-the-board pay reductions Tuesday, part of a package of budget cuts aimed at negating a $3.7 million shortfall in the district's 2010-11 preliminary budget.

The salary cuts were announced earlier, along with staff reductions.

Twenty-five-and-a-half professional positions have been eliminated for next year -- 12 contracts that were not renewed and 131/2 through attrition.

An additional 12 to 14 paraprofessional positions will not be filled next year, Superintendent Don Daniel said, and some of those employees could be laid off if not enough jobs are eliminated through attrition.

The affected teachers have been notified that their contracts will not be renewed for next year. Teachers at all levels and on every campus, in core subjects and electives, were included in the reduction, Daniel said. Base pay scales will be cut by 5 percent for administration and professionals including teachers; 3 percent for administrative support staff, including human resources and the business office; and 2.5 percent for paraprofessionals. The layoffs are the first ever made by the district.

Administrators and the board have declined to declare a financial emergency for the district, which they say would bring on more job cuts.

The 4,553-student district in Parker County west of Fort Worth has 450 employees.

One bright spot could be an upcoming tax ratification election tentatively planned for late summer or fall.

If it passes, the district could recoup more of its tax money for operating expenses without increasing the property tax.

The portion of tax dollars that go to the district's debt service would be lowered by 13 cents, while the portion that goes to maintenance and operations would be raised by 13 cents, giving the district more money to use in the classroom and for salaries and other expenses.

Voters would have to approve the rate changes, and a similar election failed last year.

The district will have two preliminary budgets ready by the Aug. 20 deadline, Daniel said. One will have the present pay reductions included; the other will decrease or eliminate pay cuts in case voters approve the rate changes.

SHIRLEY JINKINS, 817-390-7657