Budget cuts force NASD not to hire teachers

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 16, 2004

NATCHEZ &045; The deadline has passed, and 49 Natchez-Adams School District employees are without jobs for next year.

Due to a lack of state funding, 19 full-time certified teachers, 19 part-time certified teachers and 11 support staffers were not rehired for the 2004-05 school year.

All 49 employees had been notified prior to Thursday’s pink slip deadline day though, Superintendent Anthony Morris said.

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&uot;This was the very best we could do,&uot; Morris said. &uot;It wasn’t as bad as it could have been.&uot;

Morris said the district looked at part-time paraprofessionals first and then the educators with one-year licenses.

The teachers who were not rehired were from various schools within the district with the two primary schools having the fewest losses and Natchez High being the hardest hit, Morris said.

Teachers across the state were notified by Thursday that they would not be rehired for the next year, as Governor Haley Barbour urged the House to extend the rehire deadline.

The House passed a bill in March that would fully fund education and give teachers an 8 percent raise.

The Senate has not yet passed an education package.

The plan currently being discussed by the Senate leaves schools $161 million short.

If education is fully funded, districts will have the option to rehire some of the workers they have already told are without a job.

Morris said the district had no rehiring plans at this point.

Cindy Idom, principal at West Primary School, lost her Barksdale Reading Institute reading tutor because of the lack of funding. The tutor was responsible for reading interventions and strategies for targeted students.

&uot;We will revamp the scheduling so a teacher can do it,&uot; Idom said.

Other non-teachers who were not rehired include teacher assistants used at the primary and elementary schools.

Frazier Primary Principal Lorraine Franklin said teacher assistants were very important to the children.

&uot;It’s basically like having a second teacher in the classroom,&uot; Franklin said, who did not lose any employees. &uot;To take the teacher assistant out of the classroom is going to have a detrimental effect on meeting both district and state objectives. It’s not saying a whole lot when you are talking about accountability and no child left behind. Children will be left behind, as well as teachers.&uot;

Morgantown Elementary Principal Fred Marsalis said he had not received any notification that employees were not being rehired.