But the district’s five-year forecast does estimate a massive $53 million deficit this school year. That’s due to a $30 million spending increase (nearly two-thirds tied to staffing) and a $19 million revenue reduction, nearly all from a projected reduction in state funding, as state tax revenue declines.
Most of the teachers union staff laid off were school nurses, plus art, music, physical education and preschool teachers.
Teachers union President David Romick argued the cost savings come at the expense of the well-rounded education and services those staff provide to students.
Abraha and Superintendent Elizabeth Lolli both said the cuts were the fiscally responsible thing to do. Both said there wasn’t work for many of the affected staff to do while students are learning from home, and Lolli said many of the academic courses affected can’t be taught as well online.
The teachers union and three school board members disagreed with that approach, pointing out that most other school districts are still having those staff teach their students during online learning.
“The budget is being adjusted on those who are most needed and on the students and families who need us most,” Romick said.