DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) - The Decatur City School Board unanimously approved a proposal Monday afternoon to restructure their staff and employees throughout the school system. It means the loss of approximately 90 jobs, and some employees will find their jobs have changed dramatically.
The move is designed to save about $3.5 million dollars. That money will be used to enhance several high tech programs, and will go to help pay for two new high schools.
It's a move Decatur City Schools has been looking at for about a year now, the need to reduce the number of locally funded teacher units within the system.
Dr. Ed Nichols, Superintendent of Decatur City Schools told the board Monday afternoon, "You know, we have more local units than all of the surrounding counties that touch us combined, and most cities. In fact, Dr. Wardynski (Superintendent, Huntsville City Schools) told me we almost had as many as Huntsville city."
The school board voted unanimously to eliminate up to 39 teacher units and 40 non-certified jobs within the system. That move is designed to save the system about $3-million a year. Another half-million will be saved in transportation costs.
"That's all local money that we get. And we'll be able to take that money and look in the future at our desire to build two new high schools, at our desire to expand the one-to-one computers in grades 9-through-12, along with career tech programs and a miriad of other things," Nichols told WHNT News 19.
Nichols says no tenured teachers will be let go, however several will retire at the end of the school year. Having the extra money on-hand will make it easier for the board to borrow money to replace both Austin and Decatur High Schools.
Nichols says the reason they've had so many locally funded teachers within the system was because of proration in the state education budget, dating back almost a decade. The Decatur system hired the teachers even though state funding wasn't available to help pay their salaries. And as the system prepares to go to the bond market to borrow money to build two new schools, he says that's a luxury the system can no longer afford.