Dr. Judy Grissom’s letter to Rowan-Salisbury School System employees
After 50 certified teachers were notified last week that their positions are being terminated, Superintendent Dr. Judy Grissom sent the following email to all Rowan-Salisbury School System staff on Monday:
“This message is regarding recent notification letters delivered to teachers concerning non-renewal of probationary contracts.
“Because the NC General Statutes require notification to probationary teachers no later than May 15th of the superintendent’s intent to recommend non-renewal, we have traditionally sent these letters out and in previous years have been able to hire teachers back once the state budget was officially approved. This is our intent this year too. In previous years, we have had a much better idea of what the budget cuts might entail, but this year there is not as much information available yet.
“This is also why it is important to stay informed on the decisions being made by our legislators and county commissioners regarding public education and funding cuts. Our hope is that our state legislators will approve a budget that supports public education.
“During the previous 4 years, we have eliminated over 200 positions and lost over $24 million in funding AND accomplished this without increasing class size. Being a system where 85% of the budget is salaries, we have done much better than many of our surrounding neighbors in protecting the classroom.
“We are looking at a potential additional loss of $4.6 million to our district’s budget for the next school year bringing us to a total of $28.6 million of cuts. Federal JOBS funding has ending and federal sequestration has decreased funding. We presented our budget request to our County Commissioners earlier this month. We received an unfavorable response from the County Commissioners to assist our schools with this loss in funding.
“The largest percentage of teaching positions projected to be lost is due to a decrease in student enrollment – 29 teaching positions would no longer be funded through state allotments because of fewer students.
“It may be necessary to increase class size resulting in an additional loss of 10 teachers to assist with the decrease in funding. This number would have been much higher had we not eliminated 27 positions through retirements, resignations and temporary positions. Other positions will be affected – central office, teacher assistants, etc. but none of these positions require notification by May 15th.
“It is never an easy decision when we must let any of our employees go for reasons of fewer students and/or for a loss of funding. But with the final state budget anticipated not being approved until July, we must prepare and make decisions based on the budget and student enrollment projections.
“Final approval to hire or release an employee is made by the Board of Education.
“You may refer to our district’s website for more information about the projected legislative and budget outlook for next year. We are also sending out weekly legislative updates that I hope you are reading and responding to concerns that effect public education.
Dr. Judy Grissom, Superintendent
Rowan-Salisbury School System”