NAMPA — A little more than half of the Nampa School District’s certified employees have volunteered to take furlough days, but some teachers still want answers about how much money the district is saving with this plan and other cost-cutting measures.
“... I want to know the cold hard number. What’s the data? How much is it going to help? I get that it all helps, but how much and at what cost?” Mandy Simpson, president of the Nampa Education Association, told the Board of Trustees at a special meeting Wednesday.
The furlough days are optional and were offered as a way to help the district cover some of its $4.3 million budget shortfall. Teachers could elect to take up to four furlough days, which are non-student contact days that were previously scheduled as teacher work days. Of the 53.3 percent of certified staff members that volunteered furlough days, 60 percent of those volunteered four days, Steve Kipp, the district’s human resource officer said. He said 100 percent of the district’s administrative staff offered to take anywhere from four to six days.
Another teacher, Brenda Suchy, asked the Board how much money the district has saved through teachers refraining from taking sick or personal days and not using substitutes. She also asked about statements made about teachers not getting paid from May to August if things become drastic.
School board Chairman Scott Kido told her the board was not prepared to answer those questions, but it would look into them and get back to her.
Four teachers spoke to the Board Wednesday about their concerns. About 40 people attended the meeting — many wore red which symbolized “red for ed,” their support for education.
The Board also voted to proceed with a loan application, pending a judge’s approval, to help cover the shortfall. It approved the hiring of a certified public accountant to fill an open position. Interim Superintendent Tom Michaelson told the Board there were two other administrative positions in finance that would be open after the holiday break. He said the district could just fill one of those open positions.
The Board was divided on an idea to explore outside contracts for nutrition and custodial services. Trustee Dale Wheeler motioned that the board not look into that option, based on past experience. Trustee Bob Otten seconded the motion, but Trustee Daren Coon said the district should still look into it to know for sure if it would help. Wheeler and Otten voted against exploring the option and Kido, Coon and Trustee Joca Veloz voted in favor.
The board also approved an independent audit by Eide Bailly at a cost of $13,575.
Michaelson said he is putting together a financial recommendation committee along with staff input to continue to work on the budget. He assured Simpson and other teachers that the committee would have representation from the NEA.