After voting to close seven schools and to lay off more than 700 CTU-based employees, the Cleveland Board of Education will vote on recommendations at its April 26 meeting to lay off additional union and central office personnel, in order to offset a projected $145 million deficit over the next two years.
Our decision to lay off staff and to eliminate positions was not taken lightly. The management team has spent a great deal of time reviewing staff roles, duties, responsibilities, contractual obligations and the impact of each on the efficiency and effectiveness of our operations. Because our school system is a “people business,” cuts in personnel and related expenses are unavoidable.
Effective June 30, 2011, the District will stop the practice of paying any central office employee’s portion of pension contributions, also known as a pension pickup, to save CMSD an additional $350,000. Auto allowances for central office staff have also been eliminated and will be replaced with actual mileage reimbursement. This reduction in benefits helped us to minimize the impact on students and to rescind an earlier proposal to cut $2.1 million in the District’s textbook budget and $500,000 from extracurricular activities.
Reduction of staff in every area of CMSD’s operations is the only way for us to eliminate the District’s compounding budget deficit over the next two years. Our intent in addressing the deficit over two years rather than one is not only to put the District on a more stable financial course, but also to allow our staff to focus on the most critical challenge we face—preparing Cleveland’s students for success in a 21st century global economy that is racing ahead of them.
We appreciate the input we have received and that we continue to receive. We will continue to listen and respond.