BOE reviews projected budget cuts, discusses class scheduling

Published 8:21 pm Friday, February 8, 2013

Numbers of personnel units and class scheduling options for the 2013–2014 school year were two items the Chilton County Board of Education discussed in a work session Friday afternoon.

The board reviewed the Alabama Department of Education’s Final Fiscal Year 2013 LEA (Local Education Agency) Unit Breakdown for Chilton County schools, as well as the FY 2014 unit breakdown with preliminary numbers for the new school year.

The unit breakdowns contain the number of teacher, principal, assistant principal, counselor, library/media and additional units allotted for each school.

Schools Superintendent Dave Hayden said he received the FY 2014 breakdown Friday and e-mailed it to all principals in the county.

The latest breakdown is subject to change depending on whether the Legislature approves it but provides an idea of how many units local schools will have to work with in the new school year.

“As of right now, this is what we’re told it will be,” Hayden said.

The proposed unit breakdown would result in Chilton County losing four teacher units, gaining one assistant principal unit, gaining a half-unit counselor position and losing all of the half-unit library/media positions.

Regarding monetary projections, Hayden said $31.35 is allotted for each student for textbooks; $5,753 is allotted for fleet renewal, or paying for the school buses the board has purchased; and $300 is allotted for each teacher to purchase classroom supplies.

If it stays the same or decreases, textbook funding would be inadequate as each textbook costs about $60–$70.

Funding for the buses would also fall short of the board’s estimate of needing more than $7,000 to ensure all buses could be covered.

“It’s all tentative,” Hayden said. “I’m hoping we’re going to go up rather than down.”

The board also discussed the pros and cons of changing from the current block scheduling system with five class periods a day to the seven-period system.

Hayden said he intends to recommend switching back to the seven-period system to gain 30 more hours of designated instruction time per year in the classroom.

On the five-period block system, one period per day, called a “flex” period, is reserved for remediation, study hall or other academic activities.

Board member Jim Shannon expressed concern about making a decision too quickly without considering how students and teachers would be affected by changing, and other county administrators voiced concerns about the seven-period system cutting time out of some students’ courses at LeCroy Career Technical Center.

“I’d rather look into it before I rush,” Shannon said.

Chilton County schools have been on the block system since 1996.

The board will vote on which scheduling option to implement in the 2013–2014 school year at its next regular meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 19.