Tight budget could cost 200 Durham teaching jobs

Posted April 26, 2010

— Durham Public Schools could lose about $20 million in local and state funding for the 2010-11 school year, meaning scores of teaching positions could be cut, officials said Monday.

Interim Superintendent Hank Hurd will present his budget proposal to the school board on Thursday. It includes about $22 million in cuts to offset $12 million less in state money and expected cuts in revenue from Durham County.

"No county in the state can absorb the type of reductions that we are facing from state funds," Hurd said.

Durham school generic Budget math gets tougher for Durham schools

Last year, officials had to cut about $15 million to balance the 2009-10 district budget, making it more difficult to reduce spending again without eliminating jobs, he said.

"A high percentage of our funds are involved in salaries, so we have no choice," he said.

Hurd said as many as 400 jobs could be eliminated, with as many as half of them teaching positions. About 60 positions slated to be cut in his proposed budget come from the district's Central Office, but it's unclear where the remaining cuts would be made.

"The budget shortfall that we are facing is no less devastating than if the rooftops were blown off of some of our schools. I mean, this is just dire," school board member Heidi Carter said.

Carter said teacher cuts will force class sizes to go up and could eliminate some courses, especially for high school students.

"This just hits us from all angles to all levels," she said.

Kristy Moore, president of the Durham Association of Educators, said teachers are on edge, both for their own future and for their students'.

"There are so many educators that have no idea whether they are going to have a job next year," Moore said. "If there are more cuts to education, the children will suffer. It's just plain and simple – the children will suffer."

The school board plans to work with county commissioners to obtain as much local funding as possible to soften the impact of the state cuts, Carter said.

"We are doing whatever it takes to work with our county commissioners," she said.

Meanwhile, parents like Betsy Dessauer worry about their children and what cuts to the school district would mean to their education.

"Unfortunately, it's going to adversely affect the children," Dessauer said. "If we need to have more potholes, that's OK. We can deal with more potholes for a year or two. We can't deal with cuts to the school system."


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  • tarheelfan41 Apr 27, 2010

    If your childs class size doubles and you think its a problem and half of the class is in our country illegally; it would seem the answer would be rather simple.

  • tarheelfan41 Apr 27, 2010

    Obamanomics: Free lunches, free breakfasts, free healthcare, free daycare, free clinics, free preschool, free or subsidized housing, free.... All this "free" stuff sure is exspensive!

  • ncguy Apr 27, 2010

    pretty simple really.

    Stop teaching illegals children! i don;t care if they were born here!

    I know it's really cruel of me isn't it. Eventually the liberal agenda will come back to bite the very liberals that voted for it.

  • Here kitty kitty Apr 26, 2010

    Here's an idea: cut the number of free/reduced breakfasts and lunches to kids whose parents are too lazy to fix their meals and then who throw the free food away and buy the cookies and other stuff with the money mom or dad provided them.

  • mrduffin Apr 26, 2010

    DPS has seven assistant and associate superintendents that make over 1.3 million dollars. If you add the superintendents salary it is up to 1.6 million. If you add the overpaid directors and executive directors it is up to over 2 million dollars a year. That 2 million would pay a lot of teachers! But you will never see a dollar cut from this group because they cover each others behind!

  • Roland K. Apr 26, 2010

    the value this country places on educating its population is abysmally low. shocking. and we'll wonder why Durham's crime rate will skyrocket in the next year. I have no crystal ball, but seems to be a correlation between systematically crummy underfunded schools and juvenile crime rates.

  • ncscented Apr 26, 2010

    What happens to the teachers who get 'laid off' can they collect unemployment? Regardless, they will still get a check from the state, why not keep them in the classroom!

  • Da Toy Maker Apr 26, 2010

    It is just the sad reality of today's economic. Really don't know what to say. It is never good to see anyone loose his/her job.

  • TriangleMommy Apr 26, 2010

    And how many of these high ranking school officials have taken DRASTIC pay cuts in order to keep teachers from being laid off?

    How many employees sitting in the main offices of DPS are willing to take the same cuts? Have they taken unpaid leave?