HUUSD Board takes close look at staffing

  • Published in News

The Harwood Unified Union School District (HUUSD) Board is scrutinizing the staffing levels in each school as well as districtwide levels.

HUUSD central office chief financial officer and operations director Michelle Baker presented all of the school staffing data to the HUUSD Board on Wednesday, December 6, including not just classroom teachers in each school but also library media specialists, interventionists, nurses, counselors and many more positions that are shared between elementary schools.

Baker also provided board members with the student-to-teacher ratios for each school in the district.

Fayston Elementary had the lowest ratio at 13.5-to-1, followed by Moretown Elementary at 15.14-to-1, Waitsfield Elementary at 16-to-1, Warren Elementary and Crossett Brook at 16.88-to-1, Thatcher Brook Primary at 17.47-to-1, Harwood Middle School at 17.88-to-1 and Harwood Union High School at 18.5-to-1. These ratios reflect the number of students to educator. There are other ratios created by the Vermont Agency of Education which are used for federal reporting that count the total number of staff at each school, including maintenance staff, clerical staff and food service personnel.

Baker’s presentation also reiterates the proposed budget and its suggestions, which are made by the HUUSD administrative team. This year’s budget was $36,294,585. The administrative team’s proposal is a 3.6 percent increase to $37,597,585.

The administrative team is made up of the principals from each school, Superintendent Brigid Nease, director of operations and finance Michelle Baker, director of student support services Donarae Dawson, and director of curriculum and assessment Sheila Soule.

The administrative team has proposed a reduction of 2.4 FTE (full-time equivalent) classroom teachers for fiscal year 2019, 1.4 of which would come from Fayston Elementary and 1.0 from Warren.

“This reduction of classroom teachers is proposed solely on the anticipated size of classrooms next school year. This change aligns most classrooms in all grade levels to the optimal average range per grade cluster,” as dictated by the Agency of Education, one budget presentation handout from November 15 states.

The administrative team also proposed adding 3.0 FTE interventionists, with Moretown Elementary, Waitsfield Elementary and Fayston Elementary each receiving 1.0 FTE. Interventionists provide support outside of the time dedicated to core instruction.

Additionally, the team proposed reducing instructional assistants in the district by 3.01 FTE. In all, 1.0 would come from Crossett Brook, 0.6 would be reduced at Fayston and 1.5 from Warren.

In a November 15 presentation, Baker noted that Moretown is also reducing instructional assistants by 1.5 FTE; however, these were unbudgeted hires that occurred throughout the past year to accommodate incoming students.

The last of the larger proposals come from a World Language Proposal to level each school’s access to the subject, which would add 2.4 FTE and a pre-K proposal, which includes an expansion at Moretown Elementary, which would add 1.7 FTE. Fayston, Moretown, Warren and Waitsfield will move from 0.4 FTE to 0.5 FTE. Thatcher Brook will go from 0 to 1.0 FTE. Crossett Brook will go from 1 FTE to 2 FTE.

The proposed budget also includes a data management support employee, 1.0 FTE, and administrative assistant at the central office, 0.6 FTE, a library media specialist and a guidance counselor, both 0.2 FTE, and a reduction of a 0.2 FTE MTSS (multitier support services) coordinator.

According to board chair Christine Sullivan, there was a reduction of 0.6 FTE in a central office administrative assistant for FY 2019 and there was a reduction of 0.4 in a central office administrative assistant in FY 2018.

“The above reduction of 1.0 is being added back in the Data Management Support of 1.0. My understanding is that this support is needed across all of our school buildings,” Sullivan wrote in an email.

Last year the administrative team proposed a budget that included 370.3 FTE, but they ended the year with 374.82 FTE because of hires made throughout the year. This year the proposed budget includes 376.61 FTE. All of the total staffing changes account for a 0.2 percent increase, or $90,452.