Schools: Raises, fewer layoffs back on table

Published 12:29 am Saturday, April 21, 2012

Suffolk Public Schools appears set to lay off fewer employees and provide a modest across-the-board raise after the district’s financial outlook grew less bleak.

On Wednesday, Mayor Linda T. Johnson reported before a public hearing on the city budget that city and school district officials had agreed on changes to the city’s proposed spending plan.

Under the changes, the city would give the district an anticipated $2 million more than the $3 million increase from last year’s funding already recommended.

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With funding from the state budget — which the General Assembly approved Wednesday — the recommendation should bring the school system close to fully funding its budget.

“We are very pleased and appreciative of the additional funding from the state as well as the additional $2 million from our city,” Suffolk Public Schools Superintendent Deran Whitney stated in an email.

Earlier this month, Whitney told a school board meeting that 89 teachers and other district employees were to receive layoff notices.

The same meeting also heard a planned 2-percent raise for all district employees would be struck and furloughs possibly introduced.

The austerity measures were due to the city not being able to provide all the money the district had requested, Whitney said.

“I look forward to our joint commitment to work more collaboratively,” Whitney wrote in Friday’s email.

While Wednesday’s developments will not fully fund the district budget, “my recommendation to the board will be to provide a cost of living … raise for all (district) employees and to decrease the number of layoffs,” he added.

Whitney did not specify whether the raise would be the full 2 percent planned or how many fewer employees would be laid off.