Nampa teachers' jobs in jeopardy

Administrators detail their deficit-cutting plan that goes to the school board on Tuesday.

broberts@idahostatesman.comMay 11, 2013 

Cash-strapped Nampa School District told employees in an email Friday that it proposes to cut jobs from both elementary and secondary schools.

Reductions are part of the district's strategy to eliminate a $5.1 million deficit and cut spending by $3 million to avoid a deficit in the 2013-14 school year.

Reducing the number of teachers could save the district about $2 million.

Administrators outlined their proposal in the email:

• Cut 15 secondary teaching positions in noncore subjects, through attrition.

• Drop between 10 and 15 teachers from the district's 14 elementary schools through attrition.

• Reduce the number of counseling, music and physical education positions in elementary schools by half - 17.5 people - through attrition where possible.

Nampa's school district - the state's third largest - has 15,200 students and about 800 instructors.

Administrators also favor eliminating supplementary contracts for coaching freshman softball and baseball at the district's three high schools. They also are recommending a 5 percent reduction in other supplemental contracts. Those contracts typically cover extracurricular activities such as debate, cheerleading and athletics.

Teachers worry staff reductions will increase class sizes, which already are larger than state recommendations in some grades.

Class sizes are among the issues teachers and administrators can negotiate in their contracts, said Mandy Simpson, Nampa Education Association president. Negotiations could begin next week, but the district may already have decided on the cuts by then, she said.

Cutting teaching positions "is going to impact the quality of educating we were working and striving to save," Simpson said.

Those effects on the classroom, she said, are "not being considered."

She complained that the district has overlooked proposals to change course scheduling at some secondary schools that could save the district $1.5 million.

"I don't think they understand," she said.

Proposed staff cuts come less than a week after Nampa School District reported that $1.2 million in money that was supposed to go to the district's bond fund was instead spent on running the district between 2004 and 2008. That additional bad news just makes the trustees' budget decisions harder.

Trustees agreed to repay the $1.2 million as part of a $6.3 million loan the district is getting to address its budget problems.

Nampa's budget woes emerged last summer after district officials discovered a case of double-counted revenue, under-budgeted expenses and miscalculated numbers of students on which much of the district's state funding is based.

Nampa School Board trustees will meet Tuesday at 7:30 p.m at the district office at 619 S. Canyon St.

Bill Roberts: 377-6408, Twitter: @IDS_BillRoberts

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