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H-H School Board Approves Staff Reductions

One full-time position and five part-time positions were furloughed.

From a strictly numbers standpoint, is employing 16 fewer teachers this school year as compared to the 2010-2011 school year.

The reductions from 420 to 404 teachers, which reflect more than $1 million in annual savings, according to Superintendent Curtis Griffin, do not take into account the dozen or so who accepted a , which was ratified in April. Some of those positions were not filled. It also does not factor in individuals whose positions were realigned.

“Those numbers will continue to go down,” Griffin said. “We actually have been going down in staffing.”

In all, the school board, during Tuesday’s meeting, voted to approve demotions and furloughs – or “suspensions” under public school code – for one full-time teacher and five part-time positions. At the outset several months ago, Griffin had said an estimated 15 to 20 furloughs were possible.

“Most people are used to, in the business world, you talk about furloughs and you talk about layoffs,” Griffin said during a presentation, adding that school code mandates that employment cuts be deemed suspensions. “In actuality it’s not a disciplinary suspension.”

Besides the furloughs, the contracts of two non-tenured individuals were not renewed.

Driven by declining enrollment and the need to close an the cuts were made in conjunction with , which were first discussed and approved at the board’s June 20 meeting.

Griffin said the individuals whose positions are being eliminated either partially, or in full, were not certified to teach in any of the other positions currently open, or recently filled. Those cuts represent: 

  • Two part-time library positions at the elementary school level
  • A part-time social studies position at
  • A part-time science position at Keith Valley Middle School
  • A part-time health and physical education position at Keith Valley Middle School
  • A full-time business and computer science position at  

Griffin said the administration has been working with union leadership for several months regarding the furloughs. And while the board received the initial ok from the Pennsylvania Department of Education to furlough employees based on declining enrollment, he said grievances could still be filed.

“We’re very confident in our position,” Griffin said.

In other business, Assistant Superintendent John Nodecker said the at Hatters Stadium has been hit with weather-related setbacks of late. The original Sept. 29 deadline will not be met, Nodecker said, adding that the contractor requested a new deadline of Oct. 25, which he said the district flatly rejected.

“We are insisting that they accelerate the process,” Nodecker said. “We would like to be on that field by mid-October.”

Several parents were on hand Tuesday inquiring about bussing their kids, who live in Horsham, to non-district schools and the time it would take. One man said his son would be on the bus for three hours a day as part of the district’s new transportation consortium.

District Business Manager Bob Reichert said he’s working to “keep ride times down.”

“The idea of being more efficient, saving money is definitely a priority,” Reichert said of the , which is expected to save roughly 20 percent of the districts’ combined $10 million annual expense. But, Reichert said saving money should not be at the parents and kids’ expense. “We’ve had a handful of situations where ride times weren’t as predicted.”

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