The IPS board of commissioners has voted to cut more than 100 jobs in order to begin chipping away at a $30 million deficit.
Tuesday, the board voted 6-1 to eliminate 109 positions, which will save about $10 million.
“It is something that is a necessary evil, it’s a growing pain,” said board member Gale Cosby.
The pain was evident on many of the board members’ faces. Most acknowledged that they personally knew good educators and support staff who would have their positions eliminated.
The 109 jobs came from 25 of 60 IPS schools. They included teachers, coaches and other support staff. There were also more than two dozen positions cut on the district level.
“We’ve got to make the cuts. It’s the hardest thing to do but it has to happen,” said board member Samantha Adair-White.
Board member Michael Brown was the only one to vote against the cuts. He had hoped to delay the vote so that they could go through the list of positions in order to save more people at the schools.
“You’re talking about people who interact with our students and give them guidance and counsel them and encourage them to get in classes and do the right thing and these are the people we do not need to be losing,” Brown said.
But the rest of the board applauded Interim Superintendent Dr. Peggy Hinckley for proposing cuts that limited the impact on the classroom. Several board members also argued that it wasn’t fair to keep so many employees waiting for an answer.
“As tough decisions go, I just want to rip that Band-Aid off no matter what it is,” said board member Andrea Roof. “I don’t want to leave people in limbo.”
On a day that the board also announced its three finalists for superintendent, President Diane Arnold also said it was important to make a decision that will help their new leader look forward.
“The worst thing you want to do is hire somebody and the first thing they have to come in and do is, you know, play the bad person and get rid of people,” Arnold said.
That’s because with a $30 million deficit, there are more tough decisions to come.
“I am making a promise, that these cuts aren’t done to me,” Roof said. “We’re going to make (ourselves) leaner, leaner and meaner, because our kids deserve it and I am sorry because there are good people tonight who are going to lose their jobs.”
The board is also awaiting the results of a detailed financial review and audit which will likely lead to the elimination of facilities and/or schools in the coming months.