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Hamilton School District officials cut 11 teaching jobs

By Faith Smith, KECI Reporter, fcronin@keci.com
Published On: Mar 28 2013 10:57:11 PM MDT
Hamilton School District officials cut 11 teaching jobs
MISSOULA, Mont. -

Thursday evening Hamilton School District officials voted to not fill 11 teaching positions.

School board members held a special meeting Thursday regarding job cuts, where the public voiced their concerns over how cuts could impact education.

Most of the folks who got up to speak urged the school board to postpone the teacher reduction. They asked for the board to wait and find out if state dollars would be available to offset costs.

Administrators tell us the cuts are necessary to offset an anticipated $371,000 deficit.

School officials said they don't believe they will see significant funding increases and they have other budget issues to consider like tenure teacher salaries.

“This isn't something that is just this year, this has been done before. We had 29 of them two years ago,” said board member Jim Shea.  

Hamilton resident and mother Angie Poliquin stood up a handful of times to voice her concerns about the teacher cuts.  She explained to board members that her son has Down syndrome and she feels eliminating so many para-professionals would have detrimental impacts on her son. 

“The school district is his last best hope at getting to be a self-supporting, contributing member of society when he's an adult and I really want to see that happen for him,” said Poliquin.  “I'm afraid pulling resources where they're desperately needed and experienced teachers from where they're proven is a mistake.”

The 11 positions which will not be filled are:

-6 para-professionals

-2 teachers

-1 preschool specialist

-1 art specialist

-1 grant writer

Poliquin tells NBC Montana she understands having a balanced budget, but says she’s disappointed the school had to eliminate 11 teaching positions to do so. 

NBC Montana will continue to follow this story and bring you the details as we learn more.