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Janesville School Board to consider cutting social worker positions

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FRANK J. SCHULTZ
January 8, 2011
— The Janesville School Board will consider Tuesday whether to notify four of the district’s 12 social workers that they might lose their jobs.

Superintendent Karen Schulte said Friday that she would prefer not to cut social workers, and it’s still possible they won’t be laid off.


The school board, however, is looking for nearly $10 million in savings for the 2011-2012 budget. Schulte said that if the board ultimately decides to cut those positions, it must send out “preliminary notices of nonrenewal” now, as required by state law.


The deadline to send out notices for other classes of employees, including teachers, comes later.


Administrators are covered by the same deadlines as social workers, but no additional administrator layoffs are on the agenda. Last fall, the board voted to cut one high school assistant-principal position.


Schulte noted that three elementary principals have announced they are either resigning or retiring effective in June, and that provides another opportunity to save.


Schulte said she is considering hiring just one person to replace the outgoing principals of Harrison and Kennedy elementary schools.


She said she’d rather not do that because she asks a lot of principals, so the task of overseeing two schools would be daunting. “But we are in very difficult economic times right now,” Schulte said.


Occupational and physical therapists also must receive the notices now if they are to be laid off, but Schulte said she decided that those workers will be needed, based on requirements in federal special-education mandates.


Some of the four social workers’ compensation is paid through grants. The local dollars that cover those positions add up to two full-time-equivalent positions, or approximately $120,000 in salary and benefits, Schulte said.


The leftover grant money would probably be shifted to cover other social workers’ compensation, freeing up more local dollars, Schulte said.


The four social workers who would receive the notices if the board approves on Tuesday are Tara Hofer, Jessica Grandt-Turke, Danyel McIntosh-Robb and Verlene Orr.


If those jobs are eliminated, the district would use the remaining social workers to continue services.


“We still have to make sure students are being served adequately,” said Yolanda Cargile, director of at-Risk and multicultural programs.


On the agenda

The Janesville School Board meets at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Educational Services Center, 527 S. Franklin St. Agenda items include:


-- Raising the kindergarten enrollment fee from $12 to $20, making it consistent with the fee for the other elementary grades. The kindergarten fee was set years ago, when kindergarten was half-day. Kindergarten is now full day. The change would mean an increase in district income of less than $5,500.


-- Presentation of a cost-savings and quality-improvement plan for district copying machines.


-- Acceptance of four teacher retirements and one resignation.



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