STAFFORD TOWNSHIP - Southern Regional School District officials said Sunday they have reached a tentative agreement that will decrease the number of layoffs necessary to close a $2.6 million budget gap because of a loss of state aid for the 2010-11 school year.
Members of the negotiations committees for the Southern Regional Education Association and the Southern Regional Board of Education worked until 2:45 a.m. Friday to reach the agreement, school officials wrote in a statement.
Details on the concessions made by the teachers in the agreement cannot be disclosed until the contract is ratified by the school board and teachers union.
"I'm pleased that the teachers stepped up to the plate," board President Scott Zoladz said in the statement.
Thirty full-time employees were scheduled to be laid off June 30 - or 6 percent of the district's 504-member staff - but the agreement will prevent a majority of the layoffs and cuts to the Community Adult School Program and many after-school activities, officials said.
"The concessions made by the teachers were right in line with what the governor wanted," board member and negotiating committee Chairman Kevin Lyons said. "The teachers thought of Southern Regional and not themselves."
In a news release Sunday, board member Marilyn Wasilewski cautioned that "as much as the concessions prevent the depth of cuts anticipated, a failed budget during Tuesday's school board and budget election could still result in deep program and personnel cuts depending on the budget-reconciliation process."
Voters will decide on a total local tax levy of $38,205,086 on Tuesday.
The board announced March 30 that cuts would include 36 stipend positions, 13 certified positions and 17 noncertified positions. The board approved a $54 million spending plan at last month's regular board meeting - $2.33 million less than the 2009 budget. The district's state aid was cut by 84 percent while employee benefit costs in the district increased by 12 percent for 2010-11.