District approves yearly cuts and reductions

Published 10:03 am Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Some positions will likely be reinstated when grants finalized

The Albert Lea School Board approved several program reductions and contract non-renewals for next year during its meeting Monday.

Jim Quiram, director of technology and human resources, said these cuts are typical around this time of year, especially when it comes to program cuts because of uncertain grant status.

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One of the programs being cut is the ADSIS program, which comes from a two year grant that helps with intervention with students who are struggling, Quiram said. Another program is English language learners at the high school, which is through a compensatory grant. The compensatory grant also gave some funding to student intervention.

The ADSIS grant wasn’t on the programming reduction list last year because it wasn’t up for renewal, Quiram said.

Other program reductions on the list include positions with the elementary schools, high school Spanish, high school English, high school industrial technology and high school family and consumer science.

The elementary positions include reduction of kindergarten teachers, as Quiram said the district isn’t sure how many kindergarteners will enroll for next school year. He said the district is being conservative in cutting some of the program, and will rehire as necessary.

Some of the other things on the list are being reduced because of shifting. For example, the high school Spanish program is being reduced as more students are signing up for French, which is being offered at the high school for the first time next year. Other programs are being reduced as more students are taking classes in other areas, and teachers with multiple licensures are being shifted instead of completely cut.

Quiram said overall, the high school is adding more things, but the board only needs to be asked to approve cuts, not additions.

In hand with the program cuts and reductions, nine probationary teachers have had their contracts non-renewed for the 2015-16 school year.

A probationary teacher is a teacher who is in their first three years of teaching at a district. After a teacher is renewed for their fourth contract year, the teacher achieves tenure and has more rights to their job, Quiram said.

The nine probationary teachers being non-renewed are either teachers who are related to the program cuts and reductions or who are community experts who have reached the end of their one-year waiver so they can teach without a teaching license.

Quiram said for the community experts who are being non-renewed, the district will open up the position to hopefully hire a teacher licensed in that area. If no teachers apply, the community expert can apply for another waiver.

“They may come back if they’re the best person for the position,” Quiram said.

The programs being cut or reduced are as follows, where one full-time equivalent, or FTE, equals one full-time teaching position:

• 1.25 FTE Elementary

• .55 FTE High School Spanish

•.4 FTE High School English

• .65 FTE High School Industrial Technology

• .10 FTE High School Family and Consumer Science

• 5 FTE ADSIS Intervention Teachers

• 3 FTE Elementary Intervention Teachers (compensatory grant)

• .4 FTE ELL (compensatory grant)

Quiram said while one FTE equals a full-time teaching position, a cut of 1.25 FTE could be three part-timers or a full-timer and a part-timer, for example.

The nine probationary teachers being non-renewed are Lindsay George, Emma Habben, Taryn Israel Nechanicky, Anthony Johanson, Connie Larson, Kristianna Lockwood, Ashley Peterson, Thomas Walker and Angela Zoller Barker.