Educators worried about pay and position cuts - - Jackson, MS

Educators worried about pay and position cuts

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By Marsha Thompson - bio | email

As the Governor continues to swing the budget axe, some educators are bracing for the worst. Hinds and Rankin County School Districts are being forced to make painful personnel decisions.

Some are concerned that schools in the metro area may be forced to cut the merit pay of top rated nationally certified teachers. They take home about 6-thousand dollars extra. A February 22nd, letter to 200 Rankin county's top teachers from the Superintendent, Dr. Lynn Weathersby warns, there is no crystal ball to assure them the stipend will continue.

All current teacher contracts will be changed with an addendum stating the money is contingent on legislative funding. Other cuts in the making; Rankin county will eventually phase out it's 66 second-grade teaching assistants. And furlough top administrators and directors.

Hinds county schools have 35 certified teachers. We asked Monday, "Why cut pay of the best and the brightest in the classroom?" According to education insiders, lawmakers are trying to preserve this stipend.

"We're hopeful that won't happen once a final budget is reached. These are teachers and professionals and counselors who have clearly distinguished themselves at the top of the career field. They have gone through a very rigorous process. These are the people we most need in our classrooms" said James Mason, Director of Student Services for the Hinds county public school district.

Hinds county school officials tell us, their main cuts for 2011 will be the elimination of teaching positions.

"For next school year, we anticipate a reduction of about 40 teaching positions," said Mason.

Both school districts say cuts will be made through retirement, attrition and non renewal of contracts. Meanwhile, school officials are left in a holding pattern waiting to see what final action the legislature takes.

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