Teachers Pay Cost Of Shrinking Classes

9 High School Positions Beinglost Or Halved

June 23, 1991|By Donna E. Boller | Donna E. Boller,Staff writer

Low enrollment in some high school programs will mean layoffs for five teachers, cuts from full- to half-time jobs for two, and reassignments for two others for the next school year.

The nine teachers affected are just over one-third of the 24 teachers who received notices in April that they might face layoffs, cutbacks in hours or reassignment.

"The goal is not to wipe programs out but to strike a balance," said James R. McGowan. As associate superintendent for administration and instruction, McGowan is responsible for staffing decisions.

The balance is between what the school system can afford and the need to keep programs open for future students, he said.

The School of Technology, 11 of whose teachers received notices two months ago, escaped layoffs because a new "career exploration program" proposed by Principal Mary J. Day is expected to boost enrollment.

The school will lose one work-study coordinator due to budget cuts; two full-time teaching positions will be cut to half-time.

Hardest hit will be business education. The program will be left with 15 teachers in the eight county high schools next year, said Celia V. Carr, supervisor ofvocational education, home economics and business education.

McGowan said he started with 8.3 surplus teaching positions in business education (the fraction represents a teacher who teaches one class a day).

Two business education teachers were on leave of absence and will not be offered jobs for 1991-1992, leaving 6.3 currently on the staff.

Schools scheduled to lose business education teachers next year are Centennial, Howard and Mount Hebron.

The associate superintendent used several of the 40 "teacher pool" positions available for staffing high- and low-enrollment classes to retain business education teachers.

One teacher will transfer from business education toa half-time position in ALPS, an alternative learning program for students with disciplinary problems. The final tally: 2.3 jobs eliminated.

Carr conceded that enrollment in business courses is shrinking, but he said school officials are working on a plan to revamp the program.

Instead of separate classes where perhaps 12 students take shorthand, five take business law and five office technology, a revamped program would create an overall course for 20 students at once, Carr said.

She hopes to bring the revised program to the school board for approval next month.

At the School of Technology, officialssay they hope the "career exploration program" will boost enrollmentnext fall.

Details of the program have not been released, but theidea is to allow ninth-graders to sample careers.

Retail marketing, which had 19 students enrolled in 1990-1991, will be cut from one full-time to one half-time teacher.

Auto mechanics, which had three teachers for 45 students in the school year that just ended, will be cut to 2.5 teachers.

McGowan said the home economics program should have been cut by one teacher because of falling enrollment, but he decided to keep the teacher on the payroll because a home economicsteacher will be needed in the fall of 1992, when Burleigh Manor Middle School opens. The teacher's assignment for the coming school year has not yet been determined.

"This is a good person, and we were concerned that we might lose her," McGowan said.

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