Fifty people with the Buchanan County School District have been laid off.
The layoffs, we're told, are a result of the school system's $2.1 million budget deficit.
We sat down with Buchanan County school superintendent Larry Ashby to find out why 50 workers had to lose their jobs.
Ashby explained that the layoffs of teacher's aides, janitors, long-time substitutes performing the role of teachers and clerical workers all had to do with their budget's shortfall.
The superintendent says that state and federal funding were down $2.1 million this year and the school board had a tough decision to make. "Trying to make up that $2.1 million shortfall is very difficult to do when you're trying to operate just to maintain the status quo," Ashby said.
The school board discussed consolidating schools, but in the end, after hearing public comments at meetings over the last few months, they decided not to consolidate; that ultimately resulted in the layoffs. "When you get into a situation of consolidation -- closing schools and saving jobs -- this has been something that our board has wrestled with for the last several months. It's not an easy decision to make," says Ashby.
At first, the elimination of over 80 positions was discussed, but the district was able to relocate some workers into other positions. "We did move the 11 out of the 83 into our food service program. From that standpoint, we were able to keep several more. But it came down to 50 individuals did lose their job at this particular time," says Ashby.
Ashby says they'll keep looking for other ways to get money and additional funding. If they do, those laid off will be the first to be hired back.
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