Kershaw schools cut jobs

The Kershaw County school board, responding to continuing gloomy budget forecasts, eliminated seven jobs in the district office this week, including the position of director of gifted education.

Superintendent Frank Morgan told school administrators in a Monday memo, noting that the district has been dealing with a $7 million shortfall in local and state revenue since the beginning of the 2008-09 school year.

This year, $1.4 million in state funds has been eliminated, and an additional $1 million in cuts is anticipated, bringing the total shortfall to about $8 million.

The district already has depleted its reserve fund, instituted furloughs and eliminated positions as it dealt with the economic downturn.

In eliminating the seven jobs, including one vacant position, as of Nov. 1, the district will save $325,000, he said. A total of 12 positions have been eliminated from the district office staff of about 70.

"I have met personally with all those persons affected and assured them that the positions involved were no reflection of the individuals currently holding those jobs, rather a necessity with shrinking resources," Morgan said.

The school board has asked county council for funding that would match last year's, which would require an increase in taxes on businesses and non-primary residences.

Council responded by encouraging a return to the 2006-07 funding level to avoid tax increases.

District spokeswoman Mary Anne Byrd said the district is educating 400 more students now than in 2006-07.

In announcing the layoffs, Morgan said the responsibilities of the director of gifted education will be turned over to the assistant superintendent of instruction and the executive director of elementary education.

Other positions that will be eliminated include:

- A finance department clerical position

- A construction supervisor position

- A vacant technology support position

- A clerical position with the parenting program housed at the Continuous Learning Center, the district's alternative schools program

- A "child find" position, which identifies special-needs children and prepares them for entrance into the school system

- A recruiter position within the department of human resources