UPDATE: Davenport School District employees notified of reduction in force

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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - UPDATE: 3-8-19
Davenport Community School District employees are receiving Reduction in Force notices Friday, March 8, 2019, related to budget cuts approved and announced last fall.

District spokesperson Dawn Saul says teachers and other employees are being notified that their contracts will not be renewed at the end of this school year. She says the cuts are the result of declining enrollment.

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UPDATE 11-29-18: The Davenport School Board voted Thursday to approve a motion for a 2-year budget plan to cut more than $13 Million and eliminate 83 positions in order to meet deadline

UPDATE: Davenport schools were working towards a balanced budget by 2023. Now the state requires them to meet that goal in by the school year.

The district is relying heavily on cutting down staff. That includes teachers, coaches, counselors, nurses... The ones interacting with students on a day to day basis.

Interim superintendent, TJ Schneckloth calls the move "right-sizing" the district.

A lack of staff reductions in previous years now has the district scrambling to make up for it in one school year.

As of this year, Davenport schools are under a hiring freeze. No more staff will be brought on to any school. The actual reductions will happen next school year (2019-2020). The district estimates that 83 certified staff members will be terminated. The two-year budget proposal estimates that this will save 5.5 Million towards the deficit.

Rodney Blackwell would like to see administrators leave instead of saying, "We now have to ask our kids to pay for the decision you all have made. When a team is playing badly they do not fire the players, they fire the coach. I would ask that you follow Dr. Tate and resign effective immediately."

The two-year budget reduction plan outlines only 3 administrative cuts compared to the 83 staff positions being reduced.

Some staff members will also be given the option of early retirement next year – they will be replaced with a lower pay rate staff. An unpopular result of staff cuts -- class sizes across k-12 will see an increase next school year.

"We hope that we that we bring back all of our staff, but we can’t guarantee that with the number of cuts that we have to make by 2020,” says Schneckloth.

Toby Paone, a representative with the Teachers Union in Davenport says there is hope for those teachers to get their positions back.

“Davenport wants to call them back because they help train those people, and we have a strong union contract that allows people to be recalled if they've been laid off--up to two years,” says Paone. “A lot of those people may get a pink slip this winter or this spring but all too often they get recalled into their jobs."

Board members did not officially vote on the 2-year budget proposal at tonight’s meeting.

The majority say they will support the proposal. They hope to find a possible reduction in other areas to prevent staff cuts.

The official vote for the 2-year proposal will happen tomorrow.

ORIGINAL: A hot topic at today's Davenport Community School District board meeting --- balancing the district's budget to comply with state requirements.

Right now it seems staff will take the hit.

The school district has to cut $13 million due to overspending. The district is looking to downsize to save money, a move that is outlined in the district's 5-year budget plan which was approved on Monday.

Interim superintendent Schneckloth says that staff makes up a large part of budget costs. The newly approved budget plan calls for cutting a total of 21 employees and administrators by next school year.

More of those cuts are expected for the 2020-21 school year.

It’s been recommended that the board approve an early retirement incentive this year to get the ball rolling on staff reductions.

The state education department is monitoring the Davenport school district for various issues, the budget overspending is one of those.