district will retain much
of its jobs-preservation grant
District is banking most of the $2.1 million it received from
the federal government to preserve or increase teacher jobs this
year in order to make up some of the gap when economic stimulus
money provided in 2009 runs out at the end of the year.
officer David Blowman told Delaforum he could not be precise
about how much of the new money will be left other than that it
will be "by far the larger portion" of the total grant. The
grant was part of Delaware's share of the $10 billion Congress
provided last summer to offset effects of tight state and local
budgets on employment in public schools. Brandywine laid off 23
teachers and 43 paraprofessionals in May. Blowman said it
recalled 13 and 36, respectively, of those people.
Holodick announced at the December school board meeting that
nine paraprofessional teacher aides would be added, using
jobs-preservation money, for the remainder of this academic
federal guidelines provide that the jobs-preservation grant may
be used to support salaries of any educational personnel, not
just teachers, during this or next academic year. Congress did
not enact the legislation until August and the Delaware
Department of Education did not pass it through to local
districts until mid-autumn. That was "long after all our
staffing decisions had been made," he said.
Other than to say
that it was a legitimate alternative under provisions of the
law, Blowman would not comment on how the decision to delay
using the money jibed with the stated intent of Congress to
respond to an immediate need. State officials reputedly
encouraged districts to do so.
With an increase of
291 students enrolled this year Brandywine received
authorization for 708 teaching and teaching-support positions
partly financed by the state, up from 671 last year. Blowman
said not all the employees let go in May were recalled before
new people were hired because their certifications did not match
what was required for specific openings. He also said he did not
know how many were offered but declined recall.
He said that
Brandywine this year is paying all its instructional personnel
through state-authorized teacher units without relying on
financing from sources, like economic stimulus grants, that have
Blowman said it is
too soon to speculate on whether this district is likely to have
any reduction-in-force layoffs at the end of this academic year.
It is required to notify any employee by mid-May if his or her
contract will not be continued into the following academic year.