(KMOV) – More than 100 employees will lose their jobs and an elementary school will close as the Normandy School District school board made cuts to prevent going broke before the end of the school year.
In a school board meeting held Thursday night in north St. Louis, members voted to close the Bel Nor Elementary School by December 20.
This is just one of the steps the district will take to offset the high cost of paying for more than 1,000 students who transferred to other school districts.
In a surprise 3-2 vote, the board rejected paying the most recent tuition and transportation costs for the hundreds of students who chose to attend a transfer district this year.
The district also voted to lay off 71 teachers, 27 support staffers and five building administrators. Under the board-approved plan, the district will save more than $3 million this school year and more than $7 million for the 2014-2015 school year according to a statement released by Normandy School District.
The district has already paid $2.2 million in transfer costs.
The district estimates the cost of tuition and transportation for students who transferred to be $13 to $15 million with $2.2 million already paid out to the transfer district. At this rate, the district will run out of money by March unless something changes.
The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education have asked the state legislature to do an emergency appropriation of $6.75 million for the Normandy District. But the district can’t wait to find out if they get that money next year and had to take steps to cut costs now.
The school board made its decision following presentations by the school’s superintendent, Dr. Ty McNichols and his executive leadership team on the financial impact the student transfer program has had on the district’s finances.
“This was a difficult decision, but a necessary one,” said Dr. McNichols. “We believe these reductions, coupled with the school closing, will stabilize our finances and align staff with our current student enrollment.”
The district is hoping that outside organizations and agencies will be able to provide employment support for the effected staff.
On October 26, the district administration plan to meet with Bel Nor parents to discuss closure and reassignment of students to other district schools.
Staff reductions will begin in mid-November when employees will learn if their position has been eliminated.
The other unaccredited district dealing with this extra transferring student cost is Riverview Gardens but their reserves are large enough to at least get through the school year.