Teachers warned of layoff potential

Four teachers at Crothersville Community Schools could lose their jobs before next school year begins due to possible cuts in state funding.

Superin-tendent Terry Goodin said letters have been sent to four junior-senior and elementary teachers notifying them that a possible reduction-in-force (RIF) notice could come next.

“It was a notification that there might be a RIF, but we’re waiting on our funding formula from the state legislature to see what to do. (The session) ends April 29,” Goodin said.

A RIF letter is a notice that, depending on budget and enrollment, a teacher might not have a job for the following school year. However, teachers also might receive notices but continue to teach after the budget is finalized.

Goodin, who declined to release the names of the teachers chosen, said RIF notices have been given out in the past but not since he has been there. No other public school teachers in Jackson County have received preliminary RIF notices this year, school officials report.

Goodin said the teachers are worried because it’s a serious situation, but he also said they’re at the “what if” phase because a final decision hasn’t been made.

“We have our master contract, and that tells us if there’s going to be a RIF,” he said. “It’s all based on funding, and we have to stay within budgetary limits.”

Lawmakers have to approve the two-year budget, which provides funding for public education. The funding formula is based on several factors, including enrollment, growth and the number of students from low-income families.

Under the funding formula proposed earlier this year, Crothersville Community Schools would be the only school district in the county to receive less money. That proposal calls for the corporation to receive $41 per student less in state support, or $20,000 total, because of a projected drop in enrollment and funding that supports at-risk students.

Kaye Durham, a teacher at the high school and president of the Classroom Teacher Association, said the decision as to who receives the preliminary RIFs is based on seniority.

In other words, those who were hired most recently received a letter, she said.

One teacher has known for a few years that, if budget cuts were to be made, the teacher would need to look for another job, Durham said.

She said the four teachers should know what’s to come by May 1.

Goodin praised Crothersville’s staff, saying he doesn’t want to lose any of them.

“Any time you’re laying off teachers, it’s a major concern, but we will have to work through these problems,” he said. “Hopefully, things will change, and we won’t have to worry about it at all.”

There are about 530 students enrolled in Crothersville Community Schools. The teacher salaries range from $32,153 to $60,884. In 2014, there were 42 teachers, according to the Indiana Department of Education’s website.

The next school board meeting is at 6 p.m. Monday at the school administration building.