In order to reduce our general fund expenditures, we have been studying our staffing in all areas. We have, for example, completed an extensive review of our teacher staffing and will recommend a reduction of at least 26 teaching positions for next school year. Understanding the incredible contributions our teachers make to our students daily, the fact we have lost 650 students in total enrollment over the past six years necessitates the need to reduce our teaching staff.
In determining the total number of reductions, we used a class size in regular classes across our school corporation of 25:1. Our special education student to teacher ratio will be 18:1 in terms of our mild disabilities’ students and 8 to 10:1 in terms of our self-contained emotional and severe disability classrooms.
Our goal in reducing teaching positions is to do so through attrition; therefore, we have offered teachers a retirement incentive of $20,000 payable to their tax sheltered annuity if they retire by June 30, 2013. The retirement incentive has been accepted by 20 eligible teachers so far, which should reduce our general fund costs (salary and fringe benefits) by approximately $1.6 million.
We have other employees that are also eligible for the retirement incentive bringing the total general fund reduction to approximately $1.7 million. Over the last year, we have also reduced expenditures (salary and fringe benefits) in the general fund for administrators by $650,000 as follows: reduction in salary for the superintendent, chief financial officer salary charged to other funds and the elimination of a floating principal position, an assistant high school principal, a multicultural position, two maintenance supervisor positions and a payroll supervisor.
In addition to the above, we have also made other changes that will result in general fund savings. We have adjusted our garbage pickup which will save more than $20,000, lowered our long term disability insurance rate by $94,000 and made several other changes that will save another $10,000.