Thursday, April 29, 1999

Fairfield schools to add 9 teachers in August

Levy possible to meet needs of 5-year plan

Enquirer Contributor

        FAIRFIELD — The teaching staff in the Fairfield Schools will increase by about nine in August.

        Those nine aren't part of the 75 positions outlined earlier this year in a five-year strategic plan put together by district administrators and under study by the school board. But they are needed to keep up with growth in the district, said Superintendent Charles Wiedenmann.

        Six of the new positions will go to reduce class size in the elementary schools, particularly in fourth grade. In grades 9-12, sections of math, business, Latin, social studies and French will be added, based on recently completed student schedules.

        “Every year, we build 10 additional teachers into the budget for growth,” Mr. Wiedenmann said. “This year we didn't, because of the staffing plan.”

        There is enough money in the budget to hire the needed teachers for the 1999-2000 school year at an estimated cost of $350,000, but not enough to hire them plus those specified in the five-year plan, Mr. Wiedenmann said. Even if the five-year plan is postponed, the district will need additional money, or cuts will have to be made.

        Last week, the board reviewed three cost projections and their effects on the budget, depending on how many positions called for in the five-year plan would be added in August.

        The original proposal calls for all but 14 of the new positions to be added in August and required an operating levy to pay for them. Should the board agree to add staff per the five-year plan and then a levy fails in November, cuts would have to be made.

        “Being a frugal person — or a tightwad — I'm not willing to spend the money before we have it,” board member Ben Hubbard said during discussions.

        “You just can't spend what you don't have,” added board member Ann Crone.

        Board members are wrestling with whether to put a levy on the ballot in November or next year.

        Further discussion and a decision on additional staffing for the next school year have been set for the board's May 6 meeting. The board has until mid-August to put a money issue on the November ballot.


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