Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

May 8, 2014

Southeastern cutting some school staff

Certified staff notified Tuesday at Southeastern School Corp.

WALTON — Administrators at Southeastern schools notified some certified staff members Tuesday that they were being reassigned or their jobs cut.

Superintendent Trudie Hedrick confirmed Tuesday afternoon that fewer than 10 positions were being cut or reassigned, though she declined to say exactly how many.

Further cuts are expected today after Hedrick speaks with classified staff. Hedrick also declined to say how many classified positions would be cut or reassigned.

She said she’d spoken with the affected teachers Tuesday in advance of the May 19 school board meeting at which she expects the cuts to be made official.

“I did it out of respect for staff members,” Hedrick said, so they didn’t find out secondhand or from reading the board agenda.

“I know that some were bothered because of reassigning, so they misread that as losing their jobs,” she said. “And that’s not true.”

The cuts and reassignments were based on seniority, according to Hedrick, and spread about equally among the three schools — Lewis Cass Jr.-Sr. High School, Galveston Elementary and Thompson Elementary. They go into effect with the 2014-2015 school year.

She declined to comment on whether there would be any cuts or reassignments to administrative positions.

The certified reassignments are all to full-time positions, Hedrick said.

Southeastern board members discussed cuts in general terms at the April board meeting, where Hedrick explained four years’ worth of budget issues to them and about 70 attendees.

“Over the last two years we’ve declined about 270 students,” Hedrick said Tuesday afternoon. “Our numbers, whether it’s certified or non-certified, across the board, are close to what they were 10 years ago.”

Hedrick said the district employed about 153 people a decade ago and remained at about that number this year, despite falling student numbers.

“When we’re in a financial position that we are in at this time, we have to do something,” Hedrick said. “The student numbers don’t support the staffing numbers.”

She said certified staff knew she’d be speaking with them Tuesday and that classified staff were aware she’d be speaking with them Wednesday.

Hedrick also encouraged area residents to call her if they have questions, saying she’d explain if she can’t answer a specific question due to personnel restrictions. She can be reached at the district office during daytime hours at 574-626-2525.

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