Highlands cuts 32 teachers, full-time kindergarten

5/17/2011 – Highlands Area school board Monday night voted 8-1 to furlough 32 teachers for the 2011-12 school year because of a $5 million budget deficit.

It was an emotional meeting, with about 500 teachers, students and parents in attendance, and student after student spoke on behalf of the teachers.  The furloughs would reduce the number of Highlands teachers to 196 from 228.  The board passed a preliminary budget of $35 million, about 9.5 percent less than this year’s, after state funds were reduced by $1.7 million.  School officials cut all-day kindergarten to half-day sessions because state block grant funds are eliminated in the proposed state budget.

However, board members said before a final budget is passed in June, they will try to look for ways to restore all-day kindergarten.  Property taxes will remain at 24.4 mills, officials said.

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