Burlington Public Schools have selected 48 teaching positions that could be cut in an effort to cut back the school system’s budget after voters turned it down on Town Meeting Day. Nine additional positions in the district's central office were also named for potential cuts.
Superintendent Jeanne Collins said the list of positions is just preliminary.
“It’s kind of like setting the stage for the discussions,” she said.
The selection of positions is the first step in a weeks-long process that started when Burlington voters turned down the proposed school budget last week. Burlington was one of 35 districts that voted down school budgets on town meeting day.
Now, Burlington schools and other districts must figure out where to cut in order to bring their budgets down.
“The reality is that we don’t have a budget,” Collins said. And in preparation for the possibility of cuts, Friday’s action was an effort to inform the teachers union before a contract-imposed deadline.
“The teacher contract has a notification deadline of March 15 for me to notify the union of potential position reductions,” Collins said. “In this round, I’ve identified those as any position that is either not mandated [by state law] or that we could glean by cancelling a program or increasing class size.”
In essence, Collins said, the 48 positions are simply the positions that could be cut without taking the school out of compliance with state education law.
That doesn’t mean those positions aren’t valuable to the school system, she said.
“Generally speaking, the non-mandated positions tend to come from the areas that people have valued within Burlington schools over the years,” Collins said. “What I mean by that is services to our highest risk kids or high-end course electives.”
Collins said it’s highly unlikely that all 48 positions on the list would be cut, especially since school officials haven’t yet explored what non-staff cuts it could implement to make room in the budget.