R-III schools to eliminate four positions, add transportation

By: 
Derrick Forsythe
Staff Writer

Warren County R-III School District will reduce its number of teaching and administrative positions next year in favor of adding transportation staff.

The R-III school board approved the staffing plan for the 2020-21 school year through a 5-0 vote during its monthly meeting on March 12. The district’s staff count remains at 522.

Only one change will take place at the administrative level, and it was anticipated when the role was created. Jessica Rhodes, who is finishing up a one-year contract as a Black Hawk Middle School assistant principal, will transition back to her previous teaching role. She filled as an administrator during the deployment of Dr. Brad Ross, who recently returned to the school. 

“She’s done a great job for us,” said Klinginsmith. “We appreciate her filling in.”

Rhodes will finish out the year, before the district eliminates the additional administrative role.

“Now we longer need that role,” said Klinginsmith. “It’ll be a cost savings for us, because we had one person making an administrator salary that will be making a teacher salary next year.”

The middle school will transition back to having two assistant principals. Each of the elementary buildings have just one assistant principal, while the high school has two, along with the activities director.

“This is a time of year where there’s a lot of shuffling going on, so it can be difficult to tell where people will land next year, but we will not have three administrators at the middle school,” said Klinginsmith.

Additional changes will include the reduction of three teaching positions through attrition.

“As people leave, sometimes we just don’t replace them,” said Klinginsmith. “So no one will be told they don’t have a job. Every time a position becomes available, we analyze whether it’s something that’s needed or not.”

Balancing out the loss of one administrative and three teaching roles is the likely addition of four transportation positions to meet increased needs. This would include two bus drivers and two monitors.

“Next year if we have additional early childhood education kids or kids that need outside placement and special transportation, we’d just need to get a couple positions in the budget just in case they were needed,” said Klinginsmith. “We didn’t want to get to next year and need more drivers and monitors who weren’t budgeted for. It’s more of a preparation move.”

This would increase the number of bus drivers to 43 and monitors to 16.

Klinginsmith said R-III is determined not to eliminate personnel, but rather positions, through attrition or transition within the district.

“We’re doing the best we can to be as frugal as we can to have a balanced budget but still provide for our kids,” said Klinginsmith. “It’s a balancing act, but we feel like we’re taking steps in the right direction.”

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