Local teachers bracing for layoffs

GEORGETOWN, Texas (KXAN) – Teachers in Georgetown are bracing for another round of cuts.

Last year, the Georgetown school district had to shrink its budget by $6 million and eliminated nearly 150 positions.

This year, administrators are trying to find a way to cut another $5 million, and they say 65 to 80 jobs are at stake.

“This is the hardest thing I’ve ever been through over these last two years and no one’s position is really safe, no one’s positions is secure, so you’re always waiting to see if you’ll be on the list at the end and it is a difficult thing,” said Georgetown Independent School District spokesman Brad Domitrovich.

As far as classroom positions go, Georgetown ISD is looking at cutting the following positions:

  • 12 pre-K teachers
  • 15 middle school teachers
  • 7 Georgetown High School teachers
  • 12 elementary art, music and physical education teachers
  • 2 choir and band teachers
  • 4 elementary school counselors

As a result, Domotrovich said elementary class sizes will jump from 17 students per teacher to 22 per teacher, and middle school teachers will have to take on five more students per class as well.

The district is planning on going from a full-day pre-kindergarten program to a half day. The federal government only funds half-day. The district has had to cover the rest through local funds and grants.

“I hate to refer to it as a luxury, but it’s a luxury right now the school district can’t afford,” said Domitrovich.

Thursday, U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan spent the day in Austin and stressed the importance of schools making smart cuts in tough budget times.

“The best thing we can do is educate our way to a better economy and cutting back on early childhood education, cutting back on counselors isn’t going to lead our nation to where we want to go,” said Duncan.

Georgetown ISD in not alone.

The Hutto school district is considering more layoffs, and Dripping Springs might have to cut around 30 positions across the district to slash $1 million from its bottom line.