Wayland Schools prepare for layoffs

Virginia Ransbottom, Staff Writer

If Wayland Union Schools’ budget continues on its projected path, the district may need to lay off eight full-time teachers and 8.5 full-time aides to prevent a third year in a row of starting off with a budget deficit.

However, with several of the final budget numbers still unknown, those teachers and aides could be called back by September, said superintendent Norm Taylor at a public budget forum June 5 at the Wayland Union Fire Arts Center.
Teachers and aides have been notified of the potential layoff; however, an official layoff resolution was removed from the school board’s June 9 agenda to give a little more time to see if real budget numbers close the gap on the projected $680,000 deficit.
“Earlier in the year, we had projected an $846,000 deficit,” said finance director Bill Melching. “Staff cut back on spending so we’re doing better than expected.”
The school board has until June 30 to adopt the 2014-15 budget and until July 15 to officially notify staff of layoffs.
“With staffing projections, we contractually need to notify employees to make other arrangements and notify them this time of year for a staffing standpoint next year,” said superintendent Norman Taylor. “A final decision will be in August since any change in numbers could change the budget assumptions.
“The goal is make it (the number of layoffs) zero by September.”
It was not a popular announcement among more than 60 people attending the budget forum. Many asked if building a new science wing was a good idea when people were being laid off, and others wanted to know why Gun Lake Casino revenue sharing money wasn’t being used to save employee’s jobs.
The 2014-15 budget projects receiving $1.5 million in casino revenue.
Taylor explained that, like other districts collecting casino revenue, Wayland Union Schools had decided to dedicate the money to campus enhancement and community and instructional support.
That allocation has been agreed upon by a citizen advisory committee and the casino revenue sharing board, Taylor said.

For full story, pick up a copy of the June 12 issue of The Allegan County News or subscribe to the e-edition.

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