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LINCOLN, SUDBURY

Teachers to see pay, hours cut, but jobs safe

Email|Print|Single Page| Text size + By John M. Guilfoil
Globe Correspondent / May 18, 2008

No teachers will be laid off at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School, although pay will decrease and fees will rise as officials make $704,000 in budget cuts for the fall.

The school will have to make do with $19.5 million for the year starting July 1, down a bit from this fiscal year's $19.7 million budget and down even more from the $20.3 million to $20.9 million that officials were hoping for.

In March, Sudbury voters rejected two proposed overrides of Proposition 2 1/2's tax limits, one for $1.8 million and a second for $2.8 million.

Sudbury pays 80 percent of the regional school's budget, with Lincoln covering the balance. On May 2, in response to the rejection of the overrides, officials announced Sudbury's K-8 public schools would lay off 13 teachers and 18 other staff members and raise student fees.

Last week, Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High officials announced they would make $704,000 in cuts to salaries, supplies, programming, and student activities. Nearly half of those cuts would come out of full-time teachers' paychecks and sports and club budgets. Like the Sudbury schools, Lincoln-Sudbury High will raise student fees to try to save sports and clubs from elimination.

In what they called a short-term solution, officials said the high school will work to avoid layoffs despite the need to cut $146,000 - or the yearly pay for 2.5 full-time teaching positions - from the teachers' salary pool. Instead of cutting positions, some teachers will lose hours and face pay cuts.

Teachers have specific areas of expertise and are not interchangeable, said John Ritchie, superintendent of the regional district and the high school's principal.

"There's no one person we can do without. Different people's hours will be cut," he said.

The high school will cut classes rather than teachers. According to Ritchie, 10 class sections will be canceled, with the affected students combined into fewer sections, and the teachers will be paid less. For example, a teacher who had four sections of US history this year may only have three sections in the fall and be paid less as a result.

Although no teaching jobs will be lost, two teaching assistants, one in special education and one in academic support, will be laid off to save $44,000.

On the student activities side, $145,000 will be cut - $95,000 from sports and $50,000 from after-school clubs. But Ritchie said that with fees going up for students to take part in these activities, every sport and nearly every club will continue, at least for one more year.

"Both the School Committee and administration are extremely uncomfortable with the increasing privatization of athletics and activities, as they should be offered free of charge to all students as part of the normal program at Lincoln-Sudbury," Ritchie said. "We realize, however, that this is the best solution in the short-term."

Ritchie said more than 1,000 parents signed a letter saying they were willing to foot the bill for student fees to save clubs and sports. Parking fees will be raised from $200 to $300, the per-sport fee will go up from $165 to $300, and the yearly activities fee will be increased from $35 to $65.

The fees "will avoid eliminating any teams, and will save almost all activities," Ritchie said.

Rounding out the cuts, nearly half of the school's substitute teacher pool will be slashed to save $40,000. This reduces the funding available for long-term illness coverage and daily on-call staff.

Also in next year's budget, funding for classroom supplies, books, equipment, and software will be cut by $100,000. Maintenance and landscaping for the building will be cut by $20,500. Another $58,000 will be cut from administrative supplies, postage, personnel advertising, and schoolwide event programming. Finally, summer curriculum development, in which teachers used the break period to prepare for the start of classes in the fall, will be eliminated, saving $60,000.

Construction work on the $75 million high school was completed three years ago, and a $1.6 million sports facility opened last year.

Higher student fees 'will avoid eliminating any teams, and will save almost all activities.'

Lincoln-Sudbury Regional

High School superintendent

After school

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