Almost two months after voters rejected Colonial School District's tax referendum, the school board approved 72 staff layoffs should the district's June 4th tax increase fail as well.

As a result of the board's decision last night, casualties include: 58 teachers, 5 para-professionals, 5 custodians, 2 secretaries and 2 specialists. The reductions take effect at the end of the school year for teachers and para-professionals and on June 30 for the rest.  

Superintendent Dr. Dorothy Linn says staff will be personally notified today about the pending reductions and involuntary transfers to other schools or positions within the district. Dr. Linn says she will also take a voluntary 2 percent pay cut. 

“To show support to the staff, I am including myself in the results of the failed referendum and in support of the Colonial staff,” Linn said.

Colonial plans to hold a second referendum on June 4, requesting 35 cents per $100 of assessed property value. So if your property is valued at $90,000 your annual tax increase would be $315, or a monthly tax increase of $26.25 per month. You can calculate your tax impact at www.supportcolonial.com

Even if voters approve the second referendum, the district says the curriculum and staff would still be impacted, but to a lesser degree. For staff, it could mean the loss of 8-12 teachers, 2-4 para-professionals, 3-5 custodians, 1-2 assistant principals, 1-3 secretaries and 1 administrator/specialist.

“We hope voters approve the second referendum so the quality of education can be maintained for our students,” said Linn. “We also hate to lose any of our staff, and I personally look forward to asking many of them to return if the June 4th referendum is successful.”

February's failed operating referendum asked residents to pay 47 cents per $100 of assessed property value.

"It's a difficult time to ask for a tax increase and that is something that we hear quite a bit," Linn told First, in an interview slated to air this Friday. "We have not asked for an operating increase in 20 years... When you go that long... it ends up being a higher bump than what people are comfortable with." 

In the meantime, Colonial staff is holding informational meetings for community members; two more are scheduled next month:

  • May 13, 2013 at Gunning Bedford Middle School, 7 p.m.
  • May 28, 2013 at George Read Middle School, 7 p.m.

You can watch the full interview with Dr. Linn this Friday on Firstat 5:30 p.m. and again at Sunday at 11 a.m.