SC school leaders hold out hope jobs can be saved - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

SC school leaders hold out hope jobs can be saved

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -

State legislators are still working on an education bill that will let schools know how much money they could see next year. With that uncertainty, Sioux City school board president Mike Krysl says this week has been incredibly difficult.

"We've been forced to issue pink slips to 30 good teachers and staff members at this point in time, and that's very, very painful," said Krysl.

State law requires the school district tell teachers by Tuesday, if they would still have a job for next fall. The district passed its budget April 8, not knowing what money was coming its way from the state.

"Makes it very, very difficult, because it forces districts to do a lot of budgeting in the dark, in essence," said Krysl.

"I wanted to make sure that I was upfront with people, saying that we didn't do our job in setting allowable growth as we are required to do, early enough in the session, so that school districts can plan for the future," said Rep. David Dawson, (D) Sioux City.

So, teachers came to this meeting frustrated by a perceived lack of movement by state lawmakers, with those jobs hanging in the balance.

"We could have done our job on time, if people were willing to work together and compromise this year. And I was willing to do that, but others in the legislature haven't been able to do that this year," said Dawson.

The district wanted to see an allowable growth rate of 4 percent, with 2 percent the minimum request. Now, the schools don't know if there will be anything extra coming their way.

"The ideas that maybe layoffs and those types of things kind of create a fever it seems. The emails come in, the conversations come in. At the end of the day, it forces compromise and at the end of the day, that's normally when the best things happen, when you force compromise," said Sen. Rick Bertrand, (R) Sioux City.

Despite the growing frustration by teachers, Bertrand says it's been a productive year for the senate, and things could pay off very soon, with an additional $6 million coming Sioux City's way if a deal gets approved within the next week or so.

"It's kind of like you're building a puzzle," said Bertrand. "Now that all the pieces are on the table, things tend to move pretty quickly. I'm anticipating movement to be faster within the next two weeks."

And Krysl hopes his faith in state lawmakers pays off soon.

"Fifteen of the 30 people already noticed might be able to breathe easier and hopefully, we can give them that good news sooner, rather than later," said Krysl.

Krysl says if the district finds it gets less than 2 percent allowable growth for next year, there likely won't be any more teacher cuts, but some programs could be on the chopping block instead.

Board members say the school district will be losing some jobs from Title I as a result of sequestration.

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