Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

May 15, 2013

Six Hulbert teachers, others lose jobs

HULBERT — Because the Hulbert Public Schools district is facing significant budget cuts in its federal programs and has heavy personnel costs, several teachers have lost their jobs.

Six certified teachers did not have their contracts renewed for the 2013-2014 school year during Thursday’s regular board of education meeting. The employees who will not be back were on temporary contracts, said Superintendent Dr. Marilyn Dewoody.

The reduction in force is the result of a negative financial impact created by cuts in government-funded programs, she said.

“Before sequestration, we believed we needed to cut our budget between $300,000 to $350,000. After we learned that our federal programs will be cut between 5 to 9 percent, we believe we need to cut an additional $150,000 in order to stay within our budget,” Dewoody said.

The certified personnel who lost their jobs include high school science and football coach Mitch Crittenden, junior high math teacher Tisha Crittenden, Vo-Ag teacher Jay Stinnett, high school science teacher Ken Browder, high school math teacher David Etzkorn and computer applications teacher Melissa Brown. Child Nutrition Director Patti Warden did not have her contract renewed, as well. One encumbrance clerk in the superintendent’s office, a library assistant and physical education assistant were also lost to budget cuts.

Dewoody said the need to save money has been an ongoing issue.

“I’ve been talking about it since they hired me,” she said. “This was a matter of when your personnel costs take up the majority of your budget, you have to make big cuts. When you have to make cuts in your budget, you have to make cuts in personnel. It’s a very sad fact. I hate that it has to happen. It’s a scary position to be in, but you can’t spend more money than you have coming in.”

Dewoody said the school district is currently not considering cutting any of its programs.

“Our goal is to keep all of our programs and protect the academic and extra-curricular activities for our students,” she said.

Contracts for next school year the board did approve included an occupational therapy services contract with Therapy Works and a physical therapy services contract with Rick Risenhoover. The board also approved the 2013-2014 school year as 1,080 hours of classroom instruction. Basing the school calendar on instructional hours rather than the 175-day format allows a school district the opportunity to experience a snow day that would not need to be made up, as long as the mandated instructional hours requirement has been met.

 

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