ESCANABA - Picketers lined up outside the Escanaba Middle School prior to the Escanaba School Board meeting Monday to protest possible outsourcing of district services, said Board President Will Carne this morning.
Though no privatization issues were on Monday's agenda, the district has advertised for bids on janitorial services, he said.
"At this point, we have to consider everything," Carne said, adding the state is mandating outsourcing in public schools as a way for districts to save money.
The Escanaba district is facing a $3.1 million deficit in 2011-12 and is exploring a variety of avenues to cut costs and increase revenues. Outsourcing and personnel layoffs are among the alternatives being considered.
In anticipation of employee cuts, the board agreed to authorize Superintendent Michelle Lemire to issue pink slips to teachers by Friday, Carne said.
While addressing the work reduction issue Monday, Carne said due to the projected $3.1 million budget deficit, and in order to abide by the current teachers' union contract language, it is necessary to issue layoff notices to affected members this week.
The final list of specific individuals will be identified once the process of matching teachers to the remaining courses and classrooms has been determined.
In addition to employee layoffs, the district also plans to offset the projected $3.1 million deficit by using $400,000 from the fund balance, Carne said, hopeful for more funding from the state in the end. Using $400,000 from the fund balance was part of Lemire's "worst-case scenario" to reduce the projected 2011-12 budget deficit as presented Monday. She offered two options - one that includes changing to a full-day kindergarten program or keeping the program part-time.
Lemire's proposed reduction measures include contracting custodial and transportation services. A bus purchase could be eliminated and there would be no need for a transportation secretary. The mechanic's hours could also be reduced by 30 hours a week.
In athletics, proposed cuts include the elimination of freshmen football and freshmen cheerleaders. A hike in tickets for athletic events could also be considered.
Personnel cost-saving measures would include reductions in administration, office staff, the library, teachers, and special education teachers and aides. A high school guidance counselor and a high school teacher would not be replaced due to retirements.
In other action, the board approved a $83,368 bid for band and music equipment from Wender Corp.