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Twin Falls schools to eliminate 22 staff positions to make up $1.4 million budget shortfall
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Twin Falls schools to eliminate 22 staff positions to make up $1.4 million budget shortfall

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TWIN FALLS — Nearly two dozen positions in Twin Falls School District will be eliminated next year to make up part of a $1.4 million budget deficit.

Superintendent Brady Dickinson told the Times-News on March 13 that positions for 22 classified employees, which include non-teaching positions like secretaries and custodians, will not be included in the 2020-21 academic year budget.

Administrators are working to move those employees into different positions in the district, and seven have already found spots, Dickinson said.

“It’s important for us to try to have other opportunities for those folks,” he said. “We’re hoping by the end of June that number is close to zero in terms of people that are out of a job.”

Dickinson said those that aren’t able to find a new job in the district would be laid off.

Remaining classified staff will also not receive yearly base salary increases or retention bonuses.

In February, the district announced a $1.4 million shortfall after it received less money from the state than expected and not all of the classified staff were properly accounted for in the budget. Most of the deficit was covered by freezing district spending through June and using some of the district’s carryover money, which is saved for unexpected financial downturns.

Two primary goals were established by a committee that was established to develop next year’s budget with respect to the shortfall.

The first is to create a balanced budget that does not rely on $650,000 from an emergency levy — tax money the district can collect if enrollment increases. Dickinson said Twin Falls has used the levy historically but student growth has slowed recently.

“We feel it’s more responsible to not have that in our budget and use it if we do qualify,” he said.

The second goal is to finish the 2021 school year with a $1.1 million carryover fund and continue to add $300,000 every year until the fund reaches about $3 million, or 5% of the full budget. A cushion is needed to ensure good financial standings since budgets exist as projections and can fluctuate throughout the year, Dickinson said.

In addition to reductions for classified staff, several areas of the budget will be reduced to achieve those goals.

District office administrators will be furloughed for five days next year, meaning they will not work or receive pay. Administrators will not receive a yearly salary increase. Two other building administrator positions will be eliminated.

The district will also eliminate two teacher positions. Those teachers did not have their own classrooms and will be moved into another position in the district, Dickinson said.

Other reductions include using existing staff to replace the work done by a summer paint crew and delivering certain parent notifications online instead of in the mail.

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