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Rock Hill looks to trim staff

ELIZABETH TOWNSHIP — The number of people employed in the Rock Hill School district is about to decrease.

Superintendent Wes Hairston said Tuesday at least four certified, or teaching staff members, and at least four classified, or non-teaching employees, have notified district officials they are retiring at the end of the school year and these employees likely won’t be replaced.

Hairston said the attrition is necessary: a recent state analysis showed the district is overstaffed in some areas.

“Part of the reason the district is in financial trouble was staffing and we’ve been in trouble a long time,” Hairston said.

The analysis showed the district has eight more cooks than it should have for a district its size and eight more janitors than it should have. The district has a few more teachers at the elementary level teachers than it needs but is in line with state student/teacher ratio guidelines at the middle and high schools.

Hairston said he thinks the savings from not replacing these the employees will be substantial. He said he will have firm figures on how much money will be saved within a couple of weeks.

The surplus of employees is in contrast to declining enrollment figures. In the mid 1990s Rock Hill had roughly 2,200 students; today the enrollment is closer to 1,650.

Employees who retire this year will get a $7,000 bonus in addition to any severance monies due them. Employees have until May 1 to notify district officials of their intent to retire if they want to take advantage of the $7,000 incentive.

Retirees will be honored at a reception following the May school board meeting.

“We want to make sure we recognize people who have served the district,” Hairston said told the board at its Tuesday meeting.

Three members of the board, Lavetta Sites, Dennie Hankins and Paul Knipp will attend the Ohio School Boards Association convention this weekend. More than 18 issues or items are up for discussion, among them: student achievement and the role of highly effective teachers, school finances, working with collective bargaining units and what makes an effective school board. The conference is in Columbus.