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Nash school board votes to eliminate 4 positions

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In a special called meeting June 26, the Nash-Rocky Mount Board of Education voted to eliminate four administrative positions, citing a decline in funding directly related to a drop in enrollment.

The four positions slated in the reduction in force recommendation include one instructional support position, which includes guidance counselors, social workers and media positions, and three data manager positions. These reductions may lead to the termination of two employees.

ade here does not automatically mean a termination of employment. It could just mean a reduction in their months of employment,” said Brian Miller, chief of staff for Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools.

In his presentation to the board, Miller said that over the past 10 years, enrollment in the school district has declined, which has led to a drop in teacher and teaching assistant allotments from the N.C. Department of Public Instruction as well as a decrease in other position and dollar allotments.

According to a graph provided by Nash-Rocky Mount Schools’ central office, enrollment at the beginning of the 2018-19 school year was 14,800, down from 18,154 at the top of the 2006-07 school year.

Miller said 34 positions were initially on the table for elimination, but the central office staff was able to transfer people with the right licensing and certifications into other jobs. He said as recently as June 26, a resignation in the technology department reduced the number of positions from five to four.

“This particular process that we have gone through has been a fluid process,” Miller said.

Before making the motion to accept the recommendation for a reduction in force, board member Evelyn Bulluck said eliminating positions was a tough but necessary part of the school board’s duties.

“As much as I hate it, I don’t think we have much of a choice,” Bulluck said.

Board member Chris Bissette was the lone dissenter in approving the reduction. Board members Dean Edwards and Ricky Jenkins were not present.

Bissette asked why one of the instructional support staff members whose employment may be terminated could not transfer to one of the open instructional positions listed on the Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools website. Miller said that individual did not have the proper licensure to fill the open slots.

Bissette said he did not feel the board was right in its decision to cut instructional support and technology positions.

“I feel that before you eliminate these type (of) positions, we take a look at some of our administrative functions first. I believe there is ‘fluff’ in our central office as far as positions and salaries that should be eliminated first,” Bissette said.

The board also approved a list of personnel renewals for one, two or four-year contracts at various schools throughout the district.