The Ralston school district appears headed for across-the-board staff reductions and more belt-tightening measures in the next school year and perhaps beyond, the superintendent has told employees.
Superintendent Mark Adler released a letter Wednesday to all Ralston Public Schools faculty and staff members outlining the district's financial situation, which could require up to $2.7 million in reductions to the 2013-14 operating budget.
The district has a general fund budget of about $30.9 million.
Adler was unavailable Wednesday to provide specifics about the financial situation.
The district reached into its reserve fund for $1.5 million last year and will do so again this school year, the letter says.
“Although we have worked hard to keep financially sound without significant reductions in staff, reality is upon us,” Adler wrote. “The Ralston Board of Education will have no choice: with this I am communicating to all of you that significant staff reductions will occur.”
The letter goes on to say: “Simple targeted reductions will not be sufficient to achieve the reductions necessary. Staffing levels in all areas will be evaluated.”
Reductions, the letter said, are anticipated in academic, administrative and support positions, including elementary and secondary teachers, school psychologists, instructional coaches, paraprofessionals, administrative personnel, maintenance workers, central office support staff members, secondary secretarial staff, special education staff, media services staff, vocational teachers, fine and performing arts teachers, school nurses and foreign language teachers.
Adler said in the letter he was hopeful that a buyout program for longtime faculty members might help ease some of the layoffs. An enhanced voluntary separation package is on the school board's agenda for its Monday meeting, to be held at 7 p.m. at Ralston High School.
If the package is approved by the board, teachers eligible for voluntary separation will be allowed to apply for the buyout from December through Jan. 4.
In February, the board will examine areas for staff reductions, and notices would go out in March.
The Ralston district currently employs about 525 people, 271 of which are full-time teachers.
Click here to view the letter.