Gilbert slices $4M, rehires some teachers - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Education News

Gilbert slices $4M, rehires some teachers

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Posted: Tuesday, May 26, 2009 10:56 pm | Updated: 1:08 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

Gilbert Unified School District Superintendent Dave Allison identified more than $4 million in budget cuts Tuesday night, continuing the ongoing goal to bring down the district's $27.5 million budget deficit for the upcoming school year.

"We're working hard to bring it back down and rehire back teachers," Allison said.

Because of the cuts, Allison said the district has been able to rehire 130 teachers originally told in April their jobs may not be available for the upcoming school year. More than 400 teachers were cut, including 270 teachers considered first-year teachers.

"That's a positive thing," said Allison, referring to the rehires.

However, while the district is hiring back teachers, more support staff positions will be eliminated. Those positions include one high school counseling receptionist per high school, one of two journeymen at each high school, and one of six grounds crews in the district.

Other cut positions include an administrative assistant at the high schools, three full-time and one part-time transportation staff, and reducing food service, office and cafeteria staff at current schools to bring those employees to the new Campo Verde High School.

Gilbert will also restructure the elementary English Language Learner program and the K-12 music programs.

Students will not see a change in the music program. The budget committee cut excess music materials and shuffled music teachers, Allison said.

"Music has always been a real strength in Gilbert, and we will continue to have the same programs," Allison said.

The newest budget cuts also include analyzing utility costs, recognizing savings and projected increases, and scrutinizing all out-of-state travel to make sure it's a "worthwhile" conference to attend, Allison said.

"This is a significant deficit," Allison said. "It's scary to begin with, and it still is. The board said they want to maintain student achievement. We strived to make sure the cutbacks wouldn't hurt student achievement.

"We're still not there, but we're getting much closer," he said.

With all the cuts, the district still has to figure out how to cut an additional $2.6 million.

Board president Thad Stump said he "looks forward" to the continuing budget talks.

"I have a feeling at this point it gets ugly," Stump said.

The newest budget presentation will be available on the district's Web site.

The Gilbert governing board also approved Tuesday increasing student parking fees from $25 a semester, to $30 a semester.

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