Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Schools Furlough 77 Non-Classroom Staff

From HoCo schools:

Superintendent Sydney Cousin announced today that he will furlough 77 non school-based administrative, management and technical staff for three days this month as a cost-saving measure. The information was shared with most of the employees affected at a 3:00pm meeting on Friday, December 4. The Superintendent indicated furloughs would take place December 29, 30 and 31, 2009, and that the reduction to salaries would be distributed evenly across remaining pay periods this fiscal year.

In making the announcement, Cousin noted that the Howard County Public School System is a part of the larger Howard County community therefore cannot expect to be untouched by current economic realities facing the county. The economic downturn has had a direct impact on county revenues and shortfalls are expected to continue through next year, and perhaps beyond.

"These factors force all of us to face some harsh new realities," Cousin remarked. "Cutbacks and cost-saving measures are being implemented across all county agencies in order to save jobs and hopefully allow for the forward-funding of FY11 needs with savings from the current year's budget."

Cousin said he is grateful to the County for consistently supporting the public school system's budget and, as difficult as it may be, the school system is willing to shoulder a share of the burden in order to preserve the services and amenities we value as a community.

To date, the school system has implemented other cost-saving measures for FY10, which include but are not limited to:

  • Cutting funds for professional meetings and conferences across the budget by 50 percent.
  • Reducing contributions to the system's Workers Compensation Fund by $800,000.
  • Deferring the purchase of 15 replacement cars, trucks and vans for a $417,700 savings.
  • Reducing funds for maintenance of buildings and grounds by a total of $1 million.
  • Continuing the review of all non-school based vacancies and filling only the most critical. To date, nearly a dozen vacated central services positions have been eliminated.
  • Filling teaching vacancies that occur during the school year with long-term substitutes. Other school-based vacancies will be reviewed to determine if they can be put on hold temporarily.
  • Directing account managers to closely review all spending, especially in areas such as travel, and to reduce or eliminate all but the most necessary spending.
Cousin said all cost-cutting decisions are based on his commitment to protect the classroom and direct services to students.

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