Schools to add new positions

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Teaching births, assistant principals, tech assistants part of 2011-12 plan

By Todd Martin

Shelby County Public Schools is expecting to continue growing for the 2011-12 school year.

Based on what district Director of Finance Greg Murphy bills as very conservative estimates for student growth and state funding, the school board on Thursday approved allocating 3.7 new teaching positions next year.

This allocation process is the second step in the budget cycle for the school district, following state guidelines to have a budget in place by the beginning of the school year.

Outside the allocations, the board also added the stipulation in the approval that if money can be found in the budget, another fulltime position will be added at Southside Elementary.

“The classrooms there are crowded because they are so small,” board president Sam Hinkle said, who was told one room is still available at Southside.

Superintendent James Neihof added that, by keeping the position outside of the allocation process, it can be a year-by-year determination.

“As we build the new school [on the grounds of Southside], we can look at the position as we need it each year,” he said. “I really like this idea.”

Murphy’s proposal already had Southside in line to add half .7 of a position, along with .5 additions at Simpsonville and Painted Stone. Both middle schools will add 1.4 positions, and Collins High School would add 2.6 positions.

As this larger senior class graduates from Shelby County High School and student populations begin to even out between the two schools, SCHS will lose two fulltime positions next year.

The SCHS student population is expected to decrease by 64 students, and Collins will increase by nearly 50.

Clear Creek Elementary, which shows a projected decrease of 17 students next year, will lose .9 positions, while Heritage (.3) and Wright (.2) also will lose.

Allocations, Murphy said, are based on the state’s SEEK (Support Education Excellence in Kentucky) funding. The current state budget calls for a slight increase in funding for next year.

However, that budget currently is not funded fully, Murphy said.

With that being the case, Murphy said he used the current SEEK funding amount for next year’s estimates.

But he did warn the board that the SEEK numbers could change for 2011-12, and “that would change our allocations.”

The other big change for the budget will be the addition of the cost of assistant principals at each school.

Each elementary school has one full-time assistant principal, except Southside, which has a half position because of its smaller population.

The other big change for schools would come with the addition of technology assistants at each school, non-teaching positions which, Murphy said, the schools have been seeking.

 “With the constant changes in technology and the addition of intelligent classrooms all over the district, we felt like it was time for each school to have a technology assistant to help with problems,” he said.

Each elementary and middle school will have a half position added, wand each high school would receive a full-time position.

The funding for these positions will come from the distribution of the balance allocation, which are extra funds that can address unmet needs at each school, which drains that budget account for 2011-12.

With approval of the school allocations, the board’s next step would be the tentative overall budget, which must be completed by May 30.

This budget gives the district the best idea of what the next fiscal year’s budget will look like because it will include any changes made by the state legislature.