MPS Works Around Budget

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Meridian Public Schools Superintendent Sylvia Autry says Meridian isn't one of the districts that will lay off teachers because of budget reasons.

When the April 15 deadline for notifying teachers about their jobs in the 2005-2006 school year arrived, the local school administration sent out three categories of letters.

"We sent out one to teachers who would not be rehired based on their performance," said Autry. "We sent another group of letters out to those who have let their certification get very close to lapsing and the third letter was to those people who are funded by grant dollars."

Those who were certified and who had done their jobs well received different news.

"Those people have secure jobs," Autry said. "Through attrition, retirement, resignations, everyone will have a job."

She said that some districts have been spreading scare stories to their faculty.

"Superintendents are making a variety of decisions. One was overheard to say he was going to pink slip every first-year teacher. I think if you look carefully at the openings you're going to have, because people are moving away or retiring, then you look at the dollars you've got to pay incoming teachers, we have been fortunate in Meridian that usually balances out," said Autry.

This is not to say the lack of additional state dollars won't be missed.

"I think the classrooms, the quality and the expectations that our community has for classroom instruction is intact," said the superintendent, "but we're going to feel it because we've had to eliminate some nurses. We're going to feel it every time we have to gas up the buses."