$10 million deficit forces teacher layoffs in Muncie

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MUNCIE, Ind. (May 29, 2015) - In an effort to cut back on an estimated $10 million deficit, Muncie Community Schools administrators are in talks to let teachers go in order to save money.

For now, administrators are unaware of the specific number of staff that may be eliminated. What they do know is that the school system’s deficit is a growing concern that will take years to fix.

The $2 million dollar sale of Wilson Middle School did not stop a drowning deficit from consuming Muncie Community Schools.

“We’ve been in cost containment for a number of years… a long time,” said Tim Heller, Superintendent of Muncie Community Schools.

Heller said next up in an ongoing effort to diminish the more than $10 million dollar deficit will be teacher layoffs.

“Our object is to be as fair as possible but yet try to live within our means and we have to reduce, there’s no question about it,” he said.

Administrators are in talks with the Muncie Teachers Association to determine a reasonable number of layoffs. Factors would include hire date-- teachers that make more money will likely be closer to the chopping block. Also under consideration is the more controversial and subjective teacher evaluations-- teachers with higher scores in the classroom will be more likely to keep their jobs.

But outside the classroom cuts, are being considered as well.

“Every discipline in our school district: teachers, non-teachers, clerical, secretarial, custodians, the whole education family,” said Heller.

Heller said a Muncie property tax cut slashed funding to schools while spending continued, leading to the struggle he sees today. Heller went as far as to say another school closure can’t be ruled out.

Administrators will know by Tuesday or Wednesday of next week exactly how many positions are on the chopping block.

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