Jobs will be eliminated by new calendar switch |

Jobs will be eliminated by new calendar switch

by Merrie Leininger

The long wait to move three Valley schools off multi-track is almost over, but it is not good news for all the schools’ employees.

When three elementary schools converted to multi-track, vice-principals were added and now each school will lose the vice-principal. Other staff members had their contracts extended to cover their work for about 240 days instead of the 180 days single-track schools are open.

Gardnerville Elementary School, Scarselli Elementary School and C.C. Meneley Elementary School will also be forced to release secretaries, playground aides and janitors, said Director of Business Services Rick Kester.

“We added some clerical workers because multi-track is complicated in terms of administrative duties and there are about 60 more days a year,” Kester said. “Coming off is simply the reverse. You have to look back at the positions that were added.”

Clerical personnel, nurses, library technicians, food service workers, counselors, reading specialists and librarians also had extended contracts so they would be available for 240 days.

Some jobs could be transferred to other schools, Kester said. For instance, each of the three schools only added a part-time custodian, and Minden Elementary School will be expanding when GES is converting back to single-track, so at least one custodian may be able to just change schools instead of losing his job.

If the enrollment projections hold true, GES will become single track for school year 2000-01, followed by Scarselli, and then Meneley in 2002-03.

Kester said the teacher staffing stayed the same at each school, so schools will not lose any classroom teachers because of the conversions.

“What teacher reduction we will have next year will not be due to multi-track, but one of the results of declining enrollment,” Kester said.

He said the district believes it will have to release 10 teachers.

– Costs. The district isn’t finished working on the figures, Kester said, but he believes the conversion will save the district $125,000 to $150,000.

Kester says he doesn’t think, in the big picture, that multi-track was costly.

“I’ve looked at it from a cost point-of-view. It saved us from building a whole other school that would cost us over $10 million. On the operational side, you do have to replace things faster. For instance, carpet won’t last as long. But the alternative is that we would have had a whole other school that we don’t need now,” Kester said.

Kester said multi-track costs about 5 percent more per student, when each school only had about 650 students. If the schools had about 800 students, it wouldn’t cost any more.

“I think multi-track is an efficient way to accommodate students. I realize some people don’t like it, but I’m convinced it is constructionally sound. It is more difficult on teachers and on administrators,” Kester said.