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Industrial board OKs hiring, salary freeze

By ERICA RODRIGUEZ
Feb. 15, 2011 at 7:03 p.m.
Updated Feb. 14, 2011 at 8:15 p.m.


AT A GLANCE The Industrial school district has 174 employees, 74 of whom are teachers.

The average teacher earns about $46,000.

The district's yearly budget is about $10 million and could be impacted by cuts by as much as $1.7 million.

The district has a $6.5 million fund balance.

Industrial teachers and staff can't expect pay raises or new hires anytime soon.

Monday, the Industrial school board approved a freeze on salaries and hiring until its new budget is adopted. The move comes in anticipation of future state budget cuts.

"It's kind of spooky right now just because we don't know," said Industrial Superintendent Tony Williams.

Williams said the district's $10 million budget could be impacted anywhere from $1.3 to $1.7 million per year if cuts are as bad as predicted.

"That's lot of money for us when we're already running pretty lean," he said.

The district employs 174 people, 89 of whom are teachers. The average teacher salary in the district is about $46,000. Because of the freeze, no one should expect a salary increase, even if they are due for one, Williams said.

Staffing costs make up about 80 percent of the district's expenditures, Williams said. Although reducing staff is the last thing on his list of options, he hopes the freeze will help save money when the times get tougher in the fall.

The state is even looking at reducing the amount of lead time the district can give before laying off or firing people. That amount of time could be reduced from 45 days to 10 days, Williams said.

"That's because they realize that we could just find out what our revenue could be at the last hour," he said.

The district grew about 5 percent this year, but Williams also fears rumors that the state might not fund that growth.

"We don't have a whole lot of answers, but we're going to try to do what we can," he said.

Williams believes best indicator for how schools brave the financial storm is in how well-prepared they are.

"We're positioned well because we've got a good fund balance and we're growing," he said.

The Industrial school district has about a $6.5 million fund balance.

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