Jefferson County superintendent proposes job cuts, skip raises

By Melanie Posey

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The Jefferson County School System began discussion Tuesday on its fiscal year 2011 budget cycle, which included a controversial proposal to eliminate some job and skip teacher pay raises.  

Tuesday, Superintendent Phil Hammonds presented five suggestions to the school board on how to cut $11 million from the current budget.  The cuts include a cut back in utilities and travel, postage and field trips.   

But, the option drawing the most attention was a recommendation not to fill 90 certified positions that would be left vacant due to attrition or reducing that number to 69 positions if employees agree to forgo an annual pay raise.

"This is not a recommendation any of us want to make,"  Hammonds said.  "But if that's considered, the savings from those step raises would equate to 20 plus teachers still being in the school district."  

But some education advocates opposed the idea.  

"Today, I was bothered by the fact that the superintendent they may contemplate freezing salaries for employees all over the Jefferson County district," said Lance Hyche with Alabama Education Association.  "AEA will oppose any effort to freeze or cut salaries.  We're going to protect employee paychecks."

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