A Message from Dr. Dave Allison
To All (Gilbert Public Schools) Employees:
As many of you are aware, the State of Arizona is facing a financial crisis. The State is projecting a deficit of $3 billion for the 2009/2010 school year. The State’s financial problem means financial hardship to Gilbert Public Schools as most of the District’s funding comes from the State. Because GPS will be receiving less funding we are looking at many options to decrease our expenses.
The lack of concrete budget information from the State has caused Gilbert Public Schools to take the unprecedented action of recommending a staff reduction-in-force to enable us to balance the budget under the very worst of circumstances.
Gilbert Public Schools has spent the last couple of months considering a number of budget adjustment suggestions that came from employees, parents and community members. All of the suggestions have been considered as we attempt to balance the District’s budget given the lack of information from the State.
On the specially scheduled Governing board meeting of April 7, 2009, I will be recommending that the Governing Board approve the following:
• A Reduction in Force for all first year teachers (teachers who were hired for the 2008/2009 school year)
•A Reduction in Force for identified special area certificated personnel where staffing patterns exceed district guidelines.
•A Reduction in Force for letters of intent issued for the 2009/2010 school year
When a recommendation is made to the Governing board they either take action to approve the recommendation, table the recommendation, request additional information about the item or deny the recommendation.
By law the Governing Board must notify teachers by April 15 if their contracts are not going to be renewed. Because of this, the Governing Board must take this action at this time to protect the District from overextending its budget that would be a violation of the state statutes, as each school district’s governing board must approve a balanced budget.
In addition, certified personnel employed under the phased retirement program, on end of year contracts, emergency or substitute certificates will not be offered contracts for the 2009/2010 school year.
There will be other budget adjustments of programs, as well as administrative and classified positions. Those adjustments will be made throughout the remainder of this school year.
Other items being considered for implementation for the 2009/2010 school year are:
• Maintain all salary schedules
• Maintain current placement on salary schedules - no horizontal or vertical movement
• Offer early retirement incentive – health insurance benefits
• Remove supplemental stipends for elementary art, p.e., band, strings
• Suspend new national board certified stipends and no increase for existing stipends
• Employee contribution toward individual health benefits across all employee groups
• Suspend bereavement leave across all employee groups
• Reduce personal leave across all employee groups by one day
• Reduce medical leave across all employee groups by two days or equivalent hours
This is a very difficult message for me to write. There are many fine, dedicated teachers who will be receiving notices as mentioned above. It was my hope that either more information from the State would have been received by now or that the April 15 deadline would have been extended. Unfortunately neither has occurred.
In the days to come it would be my hope that the legislature and Governor could approve a budget that does not drastically cut the funding for public school education.
Whatever happens regarding the funding of K-12 education, I know that the staff will continue to provide the dedicated service demonstrated in the past to make GPS the premier school district in Arizona.
Thank you for your cooperation and understanding.
(Superintendent) Dave Allison