IRSD slims workforce

The Indian River School District (IRSD) has eliminated several positions in the wake of a budget crunch associated with the completion of the district’s two high schools.

District representatives put a positive spin on it, saying they hoped attrition (normal turnover — better offers elsewhere, for instance), retirements and the lapse of limited-term contracts would close the gap.

According to Finance Director Patrick Miller, the situation could improve by next fall, and it was conceivable the district could wind up hiring personnel than it’s presently cutting. In the meantime, he said the tightening budget would place district administrators in a position of reevaluating priorities.

“These are decisions that have to be made,” Miller pointed out. “We have bills, and if you have to choose between an electric bill and going out to dinner, what are you going to do?

“First, we have to have the money to complete these construction projects,” Miller said. “Come September, we may have a whole new outlook, but for now we will pursue other options to recover (from the shortfall).”

The district has to find the money it allocates towards payroll and programs somewhere, he said. Construction miscues at the new Sussex Central Senior High School, especially, tapped revenue sources that should have been left untouched.

While they hoped to avoid layoffs wherever possible, employees lost to this reduction in force will be entitled to seek unemployment insurance, Miller said.