Janesville School Board members are criticizing local teachers for protesting budget cuts outside their Tuesday night meeting. This comes a day after the union decided against reopening its contract.
Officials say layoffs are inevitable without concessions from the unions, since salaries and benefits make up 80-percent of the school district’s operating budget.
“I’m okay with the fact that the unions decided not to open it. But they have to know that it’s going to mean positions that are going to have to be cut,” says Commissioner Peter Severson.
Comissioner Duwayne Severson says he was disappointed but not surprised, “We’ve had a couple of board members at various times indicate that the unions would do the right thing. And they did the right thing for them.”
With uncertainty over the budget repair bill, the Janesville Education Association said opening up the contracts put them at risk. Existing contracts shelter employees from the bill’s effects until those contracts end, which in the case of Janesville teachers is June 2013.
The district is facing a roughly $13 million budget shortfall for the upcoming school year.
The board is discussing pulling more dollars from its fund balance but needs more information from administrators before drawing on that money.