Twenty-two administrative and district support positions at Fayette County Schools Central Office will be cut in the tentative budget for 2018-19 that school board members will be asked to approve Monday.
Those include 15 vacant positions in several departments from maintenance to finance that won't be filled, three retirements in which positions will be left open and four jobs that won't be renewed.
Teachers and staff at schools won't lose their jobs as part of the reductions, district officials said this week during budget discussions.
Fayette educators lobbied hard against proposed state budget cuts during the 2018 General Assembly this winter in protests at their schools and at the state Capitol. The final state cuts were not as bad as Gov. Matt Bevin had originally proposed. As of Tuesday, Fayette County officials said they will have $9.7 million less in state money to work with in the 2018-19 school year.
With anticipated local revenue, the district will make up some of that, but there is a deficit of $2.4 million in its $500 million budget. that has to be addressed.
"None of those 22 positions (saving about $1.5 million) provided direct services to students," said district spokeswoman Lisa Deffendall. "But there will be an impact."
Board members will also vote on whether to cut a day dedicated to staff development that costs $750,000.
The district proposes to cut $2. 9 million in operating dollars, which affected most departments at the district level., Deffendall said.
Because of the state cuts, state grants totaling $2.9 million for textbooks, teacher training and school programs that serve children who need additional help are also going away.
But district officials have decided to spend $1. 4 million on more teachers for special education, English language learners and gifted and talented students.
Included in the tentative budget is $600,000 for the district’s new dropout prevention program, Success Academy, scheduled to open in September.
About $333,150 would be spent to support middle schools where student achievement is lagging. About $279,000 would be spent to support the Real Men Read program which pairs mentors and elementary students for monthly reading sessions and has sent kids home with 42,000 books. Approximately $525,000 will be spent to expand career and technical initiatives.
"The goal is to protect direct services to children and to invest additional resources in the classrooms to help all students," Deffendall said. "This is a budget that continues to put students first and continues to invest in our schools."
Some teaching positions were not renewed in Fayette County earlier this spring, but Fayette district Budget Director Julane Mullins said it was no more than any other year. Every year, some teachers' contracts are not renewed in the spring, mostly because of projected student enrollment. Some are rehired later in the summer if student enrollment increases.
New safety recommendations have been part of this week's school board budget discussions, but won't be funded in the tentative 2018-19 budget.
There is $44,350 in the 2017-18 budget to install metal detectors at Lexington's new Douglass High School, a move that began this week.
Beyond that, Fayette Superintendent Manny Caulk is looking to the Lexington community and sources of money outside the 2018-19 Fayette budget to pay for the recommendations of a district safety advisory council. It was convened this year after school shootings in Western Kentucky and Florida and threats of school violence in Fayette County. Caulk released the council recommendations Monday.
Caulk said in a Monday letter to families that at a minimum, phasing in the recommendations would require an investment of $5.2 million. District officials said the total costs of the recommendations could be several times that.
While the $5. 2 million would not fulfill all of the recommendations it would allow the district to hire 21 law enforcement officers so that there would be an officer in every middle school and special program and have some coverage of elementary schools. Other enhancements covered in that cost include metal detectors for other secondary schools, emergency alarms for exterior doors, ID/lanyards for students and staff, and expanded mental health services including annual screenings and 22 additional mental health professionals, Caulk said in the letter.