Okmulgee plans to cut 16 teachers, close building
BY KIM ARCHER World Staff Writer
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
4/16/12 at 12:37 PM
OKMULGEE - A projected loss of more than $1 million in state funding is forcing Okmulgee Public Schools to consider eliminating 16 teachers and closing its Freshman Academy building, Superintendent Tod Williams said.
Williams was set to present the plan to the school board Tuesday evening. The board was expected to vote to acknowledge his recommendation for the 1,579-student district, he said.
"There's going to be a lot less fireworks than I think people have anticipated here," he said.
That's because most of the teacher eliminations are coming from attrition through retirement or the expiration of temporary contracts, Williams said.
Four career, or tenured, teachers will have the right to appeal the eliminations. Hearings for those teachers could be set for 30 to 40 days from now, he said.
As part of the plan, ninth-grade students will move to the senior high and the building will be closed to save utility costs, he said. Another building behind the senior high school also will be closed.
Williams said state funding last year came in $915,000 below what was anticipated. And the state informed the district in January that it will cut another $141,000 as part of its midyear adjustment, which is based on enrollment, he said.
Like school districts throughout the state, Okmulgee has been hit by state budget cuts for years, Williams said. The state's missteps haven't helped, he said.
"You may recall last year schools all across the state had to come up with insurance premiums for certified and support teachers out of their local money when the state neglected to obey the law and provide those benefits to the teachers as they are required to in law," he said.
In addition to teachers, two administrative and four clerical positions are also set to be eliminated, he said.
"It's excruciating," Williams said. "We've looked at just about everything imaginable in terms of savings."
Original Print Headline: 16 Okmulgee teachers, building in cuts plan
Kim Archer 918-581-8315