Sullivan County

Possible staffing cuts at Sullivan County Schools

SULLIVAN COUNTY, Tenn. - Could some teachers be out of a job next year in Sullivan County? School leaders met Saturday to work on next year's budget.

A few weeks ago Director of School Jubal Yennie told News 5 they were already looking at staff ratios. Now Yennie says there could be about 25 fewer positions by next school year.

Money is running short for the Sullivan County School System; in fact they are about $3,000,000 short for next year. "What do we cut? Where do we go with cuts? What do we do to run our programs next year?" asked Director of Schools Jubal Yennie.

Those questions were discussed Saturday as school board members met to work on next year's budget.

Yennie says 80 percent of the budget breaks down to salaries and benefits.

When it comes to making cuts, they may have to look at staffing. "Currently with our enrollment numbers across the district we're looking at probably 25 positions [to be cut]. That's K-12, so you're looking at 22 schools. That's just over one position per school," said Yennie.

They're hoping staff reductions will come through retirements, resignations, and attrition. "This is a projection of what we would see in savings in those 24 positions: $1.4 million," said business manager Leslie Bonner.

For a cash-strapped school system, school board members are trying to keep cuts as far away from the classroom or maybe even hire some part-time teachers. "Maybe a job sharing or two part-time teachers. One would teach science and another math. They would be part-time but we could still continue offering the same curriculum," suggested school board member Robyn Ivester.

"I think that if we can increase our revenue than next year we won't have these tough decisions," added School Board Member Todd Broughton.

We learned Saturday was just a workshop and no final decisions were made. A draft of the final budget is still in the works, which will go in front of county commissioners by early June.

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