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School Board adjusts calendar - approves furloughs
Springfield School Board approves 2019- 20 calendar adjustment – approving furlough days
In light of the anticipated budget shortfall associated with the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Springfield Public Schools will implement furlough days in an effort to generate approximately $1.4 million in savings that can be applied to the 2020-21 budget.
At a special meeting of the Springfield School Board Monday night, the board of directors approved a calendar adjustment that will implement one-day per week furloughs for all regular employees through July 31 (or the conclusion of an employee’s current contract).
The calendar adjustment, effective immediately, will allow the district to generate about $1.4 million in savings that can be used for the upcoming fiscal year.
This means that beginning Friday, May 22, distance learning class time for the remaining Fridays through the end of the school year (June 10) is canceled. For students and families that means that the remaining three Fridays left in the school year, which were previously scheduled for distance learning, are now no-school days, and the last day of school is shifted from June 11, to June 10.
In light of the anticipated budget shortfall associated with the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Springfield Public Schools could face an about $11.7 million deficit from previous projections.
Earlier this spring, as the details of the budget implications became clear, the district worked to reduce the overall impact by instituting hiring and expenditure freezes. Knowing that the impact was likely to be greater than simple budget tightening, the district worked with SPS employee associations to evaluate what effect furlough days might have on the budget.
Furlough days are a tool seen in the district as a last resort to prevent larger teaching and learning impacts such as an overall reduction in force. Still, district leadership and employee association leadership agreed that the implementation of furlough days would have the least impact on teaching and learning during an already disrupted school year. The difficult decision to reduce school days this year was made in an effort to lessen the potential budgetary impacts of next year as we aim to return to brick and mortar learning environments.
In an effort to hold staff financially harmless through the furlough, the district applied for a state program known as Work Share. Approval to participate in the Work Share program provides access to a federal funding program that will provide a weekly stipend for employees who have been furloughed through the end of each employee’s contract. Staff not eligible to participate in the Work Share program will not be required to reduce hours.
The district is committed to supporting the needs of families and staff and will continue to provide Monday through Friday meal service throughout the furlough period as staff will work modified schedules to ensure this important service continues.
BACKGROUND: Springfield school district has an annual general fund operating budget of approximately $122 million-dollars. A single furlough day will net a savings of approximately $420,000. Throughout the duration of the furlough period (May 18 - July 31, 2020) the district will reserve approximately $1.4 million-dollars across all funds. Currently, the district employees nearly 1,370 individuals making it one of the largest employers in Springfield.