Janesville School Board to discuss enrollment-driven staffing

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Nick Crow
Sunday, March 9, 2014

JANESVILLE—Steve Sperry, director of human resources for the Janesville School District, says it is time once again for the district to review its enrollment-driven staffing plan.

The plan determines which schools are gaining students and which are losing them and staffs them accordingly.

"The staffing plan is done each and every year at this time of year," Sperry said. "We take our student numbers and based on the enrollment numbers, we determine teaching staff and aides we are going to need at each school for the following year."

Sperry said the school board has until April 8 to approve a plan and start scheduling for next year so renewals and non-renewals can be issued to teachers. The board will get its first look at the plan during its meeting Tuesday night.

"At this time it (any non-renewals) wouldn't be based on performance," Sperry said. "I think that's important. We're not non-renewing anyone because of performance. This is strictly on the numbers of students we have in the district."

Sperry said the district won't know until April or May how many teachers are retiring or leaving the district. That number could decide the number of non-renewals, he said. It's also a possibility that some teachers are transferred to different schools within the district based on need, he said.

"We don't know how it affects staff until the board approves the staffing plan," Sperry said. "Then we look at the plan and decide to reduce or add in certain areas."

According to the report, the district is projecting an overall growth in enrollment from 9,431 during the 2013-14 school year to 9,448 for the 2014-15 year. The report indicates high school and middle school enrollment is projected to rise. Elementary school enrollment is expected to decline.

Sperry said numbers have stayed relatively steady for the district and there isn't a specific reason a particular grade may have increases or decreases in enrollment.

"There is no real reason for numbers going up or down," Sperry said. "Some kids may have moved out of the district, others have moved in. We project the enrollment by taking all the kids in kindergarten and we roll all of those numbers to first...and so on."

It's fiscally responsible to base staffing on enrollment, Sperry said. The district's teacher-to-pupil ratio affects aid allocation, he said.

Teacher-to-pupil ratio in the Janesville School District is one teacher for every 25 students for grades k-3, one teacher for every 30 students for grades 4-8 and one teacher for every 32 students for grades 9-12.

"At the elementary and middle school levels the numbers roll forward so we know how many we have k through 8," Sperry said. "That's how we figure out teacher/pupil ratio guidelines."

The board approved last year's plan during its initial presentation last year but can choose to wait on its approval until April, Sperry said.

"The bottom line is it has to be done or we just wouldn't know how many teaching staff to have," Sperry said.

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