The entire classified staff, the exempt
support staff, administrators, and superintendent in the Granite Falls School
District willingly agreed to each take 3.5 furlough days to help the District
save money and to retain jobs.
The classified staff includes secretaries, lunchroom staff, custodians, paraprofessionals, playground supervisors, health room attendants, and other assistants. Exempt staff includes support personnel at the central office and the administrators include school principals and program directors. The District needed to cut approximately $1.3 million dollars from the 2009-2010 school year budget and the 3.5 days is a savings over $60,000. All three groups combined represent approximately 120 employees.
“This is just one way our staff helped to lessen the burden,” said Superintendent Karen Koschak. “Even though we needed to make cuts in other areas, the savings from our classified staff and administrators helped us keep other positions and programs. It’s heartwarming so see such support from our employees.”
The District held community forums and staff meetings last spring to help determine budget priorities due to the state’s $9 billion dollar deficit and declining enrollment. The main focus was to keep the budget cuts as far from the classroom as possible. Reductions included not replacing a central office administrator, adjusting transportation routes, reducing supplies by five percent district-wide, eliminating the contracted food service program, energy saving measures, and reducing coaches. In addition, 24 layoff notices were sent to certificated staff members and currently 14 of those staff members have been rehired either full or part time.
“The staff and community input was invaluable in our planning,” Koschak added. “Decisions were made carefully to keep student achievement at the forefront. We tried to make large and small cuts to maintain student learning.”
Granite Falls Public School Employees President Viki Perrault said, “It was important to our classified membership to maintain everyone’s job so we opted to all take a pay cut rather than to see several people laid-off. I am proud to be part of a group of people who stepped up to help not only each other, but to work with the District during these hard financial times. Knowing the exempt staff and our administrators took the same pay cut makes this the perfect example of how we are all in this together.”