Staff will follow students to J.F. Burns
A redistricting effort next school year that will shift about 140 Kings Mills Elementary students to J.F. Burns will also require a small shift in staff.
J.F. Burns will add six teachers while KME will need to reduce staff by seven teachers, and South Lebanon Elementary will reduce staff by one teacher, said Assistant Superintendent Tim Spinner.
No teachers will be let go, but rather will transfer to J.F. Burns. Spinner said that under the Kings teacher contract there will be a voluntary transfer offered to teachers at the other elementary schools. Staff at KME and SLE will be notified of the new positions, and have the opportunity to apply.
“The positions for teachers are only seen by the Kings staff. Applicants have to have appropriate certification for the desired position and then set up a meeting with Mrs. Montag [J.F. Burns Principal],” Spinner said.
If positions are not filled voluntarily, Article 11 of the teacher contract, titled “Notification of Vacancies and Transfers,” calls for involuntary transfers.
“An involuntary transfer is when the administration initiates a change to a different grade level, building, subject area or position,” according to the contract. It states that such transfers can be made “solely based on student enrollment which results in reducing the number of classes within a grade level …”
Projections for the 2016-17 school year show that at least 750 students will be enrolled at J.F. Burns — including the students shifting from KME as well as new students. Approximately 400 students will be enrolled at each of the other grade schools: KME and South Lebanon Elementary.
Growth has been on the minds of all Kings leaders over the past several years, as a series of new housing developments have popped up around the district and caused an influx of new students.
“We pay very close attention to enrollment projections and update them weekly to accommodate new students,” said Spinner.
Due to the locations of the new housing developments, the growth has been uneven. Kings Mills Elementary has absorbed much of it. Class sizes were growing and the school was quickly approaching capacity when the school board approved moving borders and shifting students to J.F. Burns.
Ultimately, although six positions need to be filled at J.F. Burns, and a combined eight positions need to be reduced at the other elementary schools, there will be no need to let any teachers go because two KME teachers are retiring this year.
Spinner said the hiring process begins this spring. All positions will be filled before next school year.
By Maddie DePaoli