Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Laurel School District Budget Crisis Leads To Multiple Lay-offs
LAUREL, Del. - The Laurel School District is facing a $650,000 budget deficit for the upcoming school year. Now they're being forced to take some drastic measures to close the gap.
Loni McCleary's 4-year-old son will start Kindergarten in the Fall at Dunbar Elementary in the Laurel School District. She's concerned about the quality of education that he'll receive after nearly 3 dozen employees were given lay-off notices in the wake of a major budget crisis. "He's developmentally delayed - he needs all the attention he can get. So without the teachers there, I just don't understand how it's going to work," said McCleary.
15 teachers, 2 secretaries, 6 custodians and 12 paraprofessionals will not return for the 2012-13 school year. "They were tearful - they were very upset and I understand. We have cut in many areas, but since the deficit is so great, the only way we can really reach solvency is to cut into personnel," said Dr. Dorothy Nave, Superintendent of Schools.
One of the biggest concerns parents have is classroom size. "Making a larger class, it's going to be harder for kids to concentrate, focus - more friends in the class, it's not going to be easy, it's not going to be good," said Sherri Farmer.
Dr. Nave knows it's going to be a challenge, but is staying positive. "We're going to be very sure that we provide a quality education program for the children in the laurel school district - that is our mission and we will do that."
She says that she doesn't think that there will be any more cuts and there is a possibility that positions will open back up. But it all depends on the financial recovery team appointed by the Governor. They have the power to override any decisions made by the school district. "We are continuing to search for any means possible to bring people back and to be able to say that we're solvent - we can pay our bills," said Nave.
The affected employees will finish out the school year and get paid through August. We asked school officials if the cuts were based on merits. Dr. Nave says she sat down with the principals who together, came up with the list of who would be cut