School board budget cuts hit teachers

School board budget cuts hit teachers

The Sioux City school board has started the hard task of coming up with a budget for the next year. A budget that's going to be extra challenging.

The lack of support from the state is putting extra pressure on school administrators and teachers across the state to make the money fit the financial demand.

Some middle and high school teachers could see close to a $4,800 cut in their yearly salary starting next year.

Currently, one third of Sioux City school districts teachers are paid an addition $4,792 for teaching six periods versus five.

Superintendent Paul Gausman says, "We're left internally to clean up a mess that's handed to us by the entire state through the state legislature, low funding. It does require tough decisions and hard conversations and we've had both here."

He was hoping the district would receive at least a 1.5% budget increase but only received 1%.

Gausman says by cutting some salaries the district can cut $1.4 million from the budget without any staff layoffs.

Gausman says, ""We know we're going to upset about a third of the teaching staff by doing so but the more important thing to us is that the teaching staff says the same size by us doing this. We don't have to have another year where we layoff staff members so that we can keep paying about 300 staff members this extra stipend."

Last year, 20 staff members were cut from Sioux City schools while the number of students grew.

At a three hour long school board meeting, citizens got the chance to express their concerns.

A Sioux City resident named Delaney Rice said, "It's unfortunate that the kids and the teachers are the ones getting the shaft. The district needs to get their priorities straight and focus on the students and the teachers."

The school board also introduced a new International Baccalaureate (IB) Program which will offer very challenging curriculum and instruction in all content areas to all students.

Associate Superintendent of Sioux City schools, Dr. Kim Buryanek says, "If students are involved in IB programs they're very likely to be accepted into elite colleges. They're offered additional scholarship opportunities especially if they're successful in the IB programs."

Currently three other school districts in Iowa offer IB programs.

In regards to the budget, the school board said they are still in negotiation about what exactly will go into teacher contracts and will hopefully make a decision within a few weeks.

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