Guest Contribution by Arthur Green
Despite being sold as a reduction of 9 positions, the district will actually lose only 7 positions in the closing of Sandown Central.
Here are the announced staffing cuts from Sandown Central closure (all numbers are Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) staff:
- 2.4 Teachers
- 1 Guidance
- 1 Nurse
- 1 Principal
- 1 Secretary
- 2.4 Custodians
… for a total of 8.8 staff. The associated salary and benefits reduction is about $700 thousand.
This year’s staffing of Sandown Central is 35.6 staff. Let’s look at the reductions in context:
|2014/15 FTE Staff||Reduction||Remaining|
|Regular Education Classroom Teachers||10.4||2.4||8|
|Special Education Classroom Teachers||3||3|
|Regular Education Aides||3||3|
|Special Education Aides||6||6|
|Non-teaching Professionals not included above||3.9||1||2.9|
|Clerical support staff||1||1||0|
|Other support staff||4.9||2.4||2.5|
How many of the 26.8 remaining staff are directly needed to service the relocated students?
We know that there will be 6 grade 4/grade 5 classes in the consolidated Sandown North. That’s 6 classroom teachers. There are 3 regular ed aides who directly support the existing classes, so they will be equally required in the consolidation. The 9 Special Ed teachers and aides workload is driven by IEPs, and we can assume that will be unchanged by consolidation.
So we can directly associate 18 staff with the transfer of 6 classrooms plus relocating special ed services. That is half of the original staff.
What are the other nine needed for? We would like to be told. This has not been discussed at School Board or Budget Committee, and there is no plan which lays out the rationale for how many positions are deemed necessary.
But wait, the administration proposed, with approval of the budget committee, to add the following positions to the 2015/16 budget:
- Principal (with no assignment as yet)
- Floating Nurse
- Danville assistant principal change to full time from part time
- Special ed teacher
- Technology specialist
… at a total cost of $390 thousand.
Coincidentally, the principal and nurse positions correspond to positions removed from Sandown Central.
So realistically, the closure/consolidation has resulted in only 7 real staff reductions which makes one question the real savings in the proposed consolidation. And don’t forget the cost of upgrading Sandown North’s playground and adding a sprinkler system – expenses the superintendent says he would do anyway but were not part of the facilities five year plan.