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Columbia Missourian

Columbia Public School District could cut 79 positions

By Timothy Rice
June 10, 2010 | 9:19 p.m. CDT
Linda Quinley, chief financial officer for Columbia Public Schools, right, clarifies budget specifics to Christine King, school board member, during an informational session covering the district's yearly budget on June 10 at the Columbia Public Schools district office.

COLUMBIA — Columbia Public Schools might have 79 less jobs next fiscal year Chief Financial Officer Linda Quinley said.

About one-fourth of these positions are clerical, but many of the positions cut are teachers.

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TEACHING CUTS

Some principals and assistant principals could also be cut, Quinley said.

Quinley said that after three years of cuts the district might not employ math coaches , literacy coaches and elementary science specialists anymore. In the past three years $17 million has been cut from the district budget. This year’s budget, which begins July 1, plans to cut $5.6 million.

Remaining teachers might receive raises during this budget year, Quinley said. On average, teachers could receive raises of 1.79 percent and 2.5 percent for support staff.

“They’ll experience one-twelfth of that on their July paycheck. That is also the same date that their retirement rate goes up by half a percent,” Quinley said.

“There is still much uncertainty,” Columbia Public Schools Superintendent Chris Belcher said about this year's budget.

Belcher said the governor has not yet signed off on the state budget and is not required to until June 30.

“Everyone is still holding their breath,” Belcher said.

Quinley said the district has budgeted for excesses and if the state shorts the district $1 million to $2 million, it could be OK.

The largest source of revenue for the district is local property taxes, Quinley said. The budget for the next fiscal year is based on the assumption of no growth in property valuation according to district documents. Twenty percent of that value comes from personal property, Belcher said. Quinley said personal property taxes dropped this year.

Quinley hopes assessed property values don't fall during the coming budget year.

“The crystal ball is not quite good enough,” Quinley said.

The Assessors Office is not required to give assessed valuation numbers to the district until December.

Columbia School Board member Jonathon Sessions called the period between the budget's initiation and the assessed value information coming in “six months of guessing.”

The amount collected by the one-cent Proposition C sales tax that goes specifically to schools is also expected to fall, Quinley said.

Quinley said that later in the year the board has the opportunity to raise or lower the property tax rate depending on the returns from the Proposition C sales tax.