As a means of grappling with its estimated $5.1 million of debt, the Nampa School District has announced the elimination of 27 teaching positions through attrition, and the impending sale of more than half a million dollars worth of property.
“It’s not a rumor, it’s a fact,” district spokesperson Allison Westfall told IdahoReporter.com about the upcoming sale of both land and facilities property by the district.
While it has been widely reported that the district was selling some acreage, Westfall clarified that the buyer is Capital Educators Federal Credit Union, and the transaction will involve structural facilities as well. “Part of the sale involves a house that is essentially being used as a parents’ outreach center, where we currently provide services for homeless parents and children,” she said.
The property sale is valued at approximately $600,000, Westfall noted. “After this sale, and with our additional levy, we estimate that our debt will be brought down to approximately $200,000,” she stated.
The Nampa School District’s financial troubles have been a matter of public concern for at least the past three years. In 2010 the district drew fire when it was discovered that its board of trustees had agreed to a teachers’ union contract that required the district to spend taxpayer dollars to reimburse teachers for their union dues. Despite the fact that the district was struggling with reduced state funding at that time, it nonetheless spent $154,491 that year to honor the union dues provision of the contract.
Similarly, in 2011 it was discovered that another provision of the teacher’s’ union contract required the Nampa School District to pay $52,978 toward the salary and benefits of a teacher in the district who was in turn “released” from teaching duties to carry out union organizing activities during school hours.
“We no longer reimburse for union dues,” Westfall told Idaho Reporter.com Wednesday. Similarly, Westfall added that the district’s current union contract no longer requires that a teacher be paid by the district to organize union activity instead of teaching.
Earlier this month, on May 6, the district’s board of trustees voted to privatize its custodial services work, eliminating approximately 87 full-time employee positions and agreeing to contract with a private sector firm for such services. Westfall told IdahoReporter.com at that time that the district anticipated saving approximately $300,000 a year with the privatization decision.
Similarly, the trustees voted Tuesday to eliminate 12 elementary and 15 secondary teaching positions by attrition. The teachers are either quitting or retiring, and they will not be replaced.
Westfall noted that the district may very well need to make additional staffing cuts in the near term. “We are finalizing our budgets, both with general funds and with federal funds right now, and we will be entering into negotiations for a new union contract tonight (Wednesday),” she stated, but did not elaborate on what the possible staffing cuts may entail.
STAY CONNECTED with the latest news, research and opinions from the Gem State.