Lee County Schools cuts teacher positions

By Chris Vessell bio | email | Twitter

Smiths Station, AL (WTVM) - The pink slips are being passed out in Lee County. 14 non-tenured teacher positions are being cut and numerous contracts are being restructured. It's an attempt to get the district's budget under control.

A loss in local and state funding has led to 14 teachers cuts and a massive restructuring of teacher contracts. A decrease in student enrollment is limiting the amount of state funding that the county can receive.

Enrollment has decreased by 200 students due to last year's enforcement of zoning. Those 200 students were previously attending Lee County Schools even though they lived in bordering counties.

Teachers are being notified this week, that they'll no longer have jobs.

In addition, the School Board isn't renewing non-tenured teacher contracts that are currently 189-day-contracts. Most of those same teachers will be rehired and asked to sign 187-day-contracts. "That's a part of the responsibility It's one of the most unpleasant things you have to do to reduce staff, but you have to be responsible and you have to live within your means and still provide great schools and we're going to do that," Dr. Stephen Nowlin, Lee County Schools Superintendent said.

The Boards decision to restructure contracts and layoff 14 teachers didn't come without opposition. "From what I was told, they're only saving $100,000 by doing that. Save that $100,000 and cut that job out and keep them, there are other ways to go around getting the money," said Andrew Garcia, Teacher Advocate.

The superintendent says the change in teacher contracts will cost $100,000. The first of the teachers who were laid off were informed today. More teachers will be notified tomorrow.