As many as 17 East Grand School District employees are facing layoffs from pending budget cuts.
By last Friday, those employees had all been notified that their names would not be under the recommended re-hire column come 2010-11 school year budget decisions in May, according to District Superintendent Nancy Karas.
The layoff notifications came early for those individuals to allow them extra months to seek jobs in other districts, Karas said.
But as teachers in attendance at Tuesday night's school board meeting noted, job opportunities in education will be extremely competitive due to impacts on education from struggling state budgets across the nation.
East Grand Middle School Counselor Lynn Cassidy, one teacher who received the news that her job would be eliminated as part of cuts, centered her appeal to the board on the welfare of students.
Relaying a long but "partial" list of what a counselor does, such as connecting at-risk students with outside help and tutoring, Cassidy advocated a continuation of "daily contact" with middle school students and their parents.
"Parents and students need to have a non-administrative contact within the school to voice their needs," she said. "I am the voice for many of our at-risk and marginalized families who are struggling just to survive at this critical time in our county. The school counselor provides this link between school and community."
Many at the meeting in support of Cassidy spoke in favor of the school's mentoring and tutoring program.
Later in the meeting, East Grand Middle School Principal Jeff Verosky assured the board and others present that the mentoring and tutoring program was highly valued at the school and would continue with grant funds, possibly under the direction of an existing district employee. District administrators are planning to fill the void of the counseling position by sharing counseling services throughout the district.
Other cuts for next year include the elimination of the high school business department due to low enrollment. Business teacher Brian Reynolds, who has also been given notice, expressed concern that juniors and seniors - or future employers and employees - would be short-cheated preparation for the business world without business education.
Low enrollment, he said, in part could be attributed to second-semester seniors' ability to acquire two "free hours" if they have met all other graduation requirements. Reynolds questioned why seniors were given that choice when instead they could be exposed to business-related math, marketing and computer skills.
Middle Park Principal Jane Harmon did not refute the need to re-examine the free hours policy.
Karas said administrators are aggressively exploring ways to continue offering business courses in spite of pending cuts, either through the Colorado Mountain College or online.
Because of a decrease in special education student case loads in Fraser, Granby and Grand Lake, 2010-2011 cuts are poised to include two special education teaching positions and a related part-time position. "Case loads have dropped to a level I feel allows us to make these adjustments and still provide a quality program for our students," Karas said.
One full-time media paraprofessional position is being eliminated.
Cuts will include one custodian per district building, according to Karas. These changes start July 1 when summer work starts. "Staff and students will be asked to help with daily routines, which may include cleaning of white boards, emptying trash, sterilizing keyboards and picking up hallways at the end of the day," she said.
One grounds and maintenance position is also being eliminated.
Director of Student Achievement James Chamberlin's position, which currently is full-time in the district office, is being reduced to a two-day per week position starting in the fall.
Two Granby Elementary School teachers who are retiring, first-grade teacher Holly Zastrow and third-grade teacher Tanya Cousineau, will not be replaced for the next school year. Likewise, high school sports medicine and athletic trainer Kathe Morck is retiring from her position.
Two teachers and the media center paraprofessional at Grand Lake Elementary likely will have reduced hours.