To keep from reducing salaries of current school district employees, Letcher County Schools Supt. Tony Sergent is reducing employee contracts from 260 days.
As classified employees with 260-day contracts retire or resign, new employees are being signed to 240-day contracts.
“Sitting in my shoes, I feel like it is my responsibility to think forward, be proactive and try to save the district money and to look at things we could do in the future to help us save money,” said Sergent.
The Letcher district has 33 employees with 260-day contracts, three of whom are retiring. Sergent said more employees are nearing retirement.
“I don’t want to hurt our current employees by reducing salaries or days,” he said. “I feel like that if I can make some changes now and do things through attrition like we have been doing we can prevent some pain to our current employees.”
Sergent said many districts do not have 260-day contracts.
“The ones that do may have one or two,” he said.
Sergent estimated that with salaries and benefi ts, the district could save $100,000 if the 260-day contracts were reduced to 240- day contracts.
“Slowly over time that will reduce expenditures for the district,” said Sergent. “We’ll let that play itself out through attrition over the next few years.”
Sergent said the district is projected to overspend its budget by $280,000 during the 2014-15 school year.
“I think we all realize that we are in hard financial times,” he said. “We don’t think we are going to wake up tomorrow and this is all going to be better — (that) coal mining jobs are all going to come back and everything gets back (in) great shape and we’re all doing well financially. We know that is not the case.”