Nashua: 16 pink slips in city schools
Superintendent Mark Conrad reviewed a list of staff reductions with the Board of Education’s Human Resources Committee. It included cuts the board approved during its budget hearings, and additional cuts the administration made in case aldermen refuse to approve their budget — which represents a 3.4 percent increase over last year. Last February, Mayor Donnalee Lozeau set the bottom line at a 2.1 percent increase as part of the city’s overall spending cap.
Although the layoff notices, which must be sent by May 17, have already gone out, Conrad and BOE members are hoping there will be some flexibility with the final budget numbers which would allow people to be rehired.
The superintendent said that teaching staff was cut because of declining enrollment and shifting student interests reflected by this year’s course choices.
“We’ve seen declining enrollment below the threshold of what you need for a class,” said Conrad.
BOE members Sandra Ziehm and Dotty Oden were concerned that the district was cutting programs geared toward significant numbers of students who may not plan to go on to college.
The district is adding staff to its biotech, graphics design and Air Force Jr. ROTC programs to keep up with student interest.
“We want the public to understand that if we continue to fund education this way, we’re going to continue losing programs,” she said.
“I think the whole board was just broken-hearted with this budget, and unfortunately, it promises to get worse,” said Ziehm.
“The final power does not rest with the Board of Education; it rests with them,” he said.