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System approves personnel cuts
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The Dawson County Board of Education voted Monday night to trim staff in the wake of ongoing budget challenges for the 2012-13 school year.

Four classified staff positions were cut and "absorbed," meaning they will not be replaced, during the meeting.

The move comes in addition to one previously approved cut and more than 12 positions that will be eliminated as staff members retire at the end of the school year.

One administrator's position at Hightower Academy will also be absorbed as the employee retires. The administrator is "remaining as a full-time teacher," according to the school's online meeting agenda.

"We value our employees very much, and it is very regrettable that our current budget situation has led to such major reductions in staffing," said Superintendent Keith Porter.

"The overall budget is made up of 87 percent salaries and benefits of employees, so the only way to significantly impact our budget is through reducing this area of expenditure."

While the cuts had been presented at the March 27 work session, the vote Monday night finalized the decision.

The school system, one of the largest employers in the county, is under tight financial constraints due to rising fees and a slim budget, according to officials.

Following the regular meeting the school board went into executive session and voted to approve all remaining teachers and administrators for next year.

"I know there has been a lot of anxiety among our staff about positions," Porter said. "Now since there is approval, the next step is contracts going out to the teachers and administrators in the next couple weeks.

"Hopefully, they will feel better knowing moves have already been made."