Indianapolis Public Schools will lay off 109 employees by Friday to save $6.5 million a year as it continues to try to plug a $30 million budget shortfall.
The layoffs were approved by the IPS board in a 6-1 vote Tuesday night, which essentially confirmed recommendations made this spring by Interim Superintendent Peggy Hinckley. The 109 employees represents 2.4 percent of the district's workforce of nearly 4,600.
But the cuts aren’t over. The state’s second-largest public school district is continuing to look for further cost reductions in its operations and, down the road, in its buildings.
“We are not going to be able to eliminate the $30 million budget deficit and maintain the current buildings that we have. Because we just don’t have the students to support that,” said IPS spokesman John Althardt.
IPS had long been the state's largest public school district, but was passed by Fort Wayne Community Schools last year. Enrollment at IPS, which is nearly 80-percent minority, has fallen by more than 7,000 students in the last five years to about 28,000.
Much of those further cuts will likely fall to IPS’ new superintendent. The IPS board is interviewing three finalists this week and aims to select one in a meeting on Saturday.
Money-saving recommendations will be delivered to the IPS board in September by the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce.
“I am making a promise, that these cuts aren’t done,” said IPS board member Annie Roof on Tuesday, according to Fox59. “We’re going to make [ourselves] leaner, leaner and meaner, because our kids deserve it. And I am sorry because, there are good people tonight who are going to lose their jobs.”
The layoffs are the second money-saving move made by Hinckley since she was appointed by the IPS board in April to temporarily replace former Superintendent Eugene White. He stepped down after three of his staunch supporters left or were voted off the IPS board last year.
Hinckley also streamlined IPS' alternative education program, saving $3.5 million.
And Hinckley’s tenure has also seen some additions. IPS is in the process of hiring 25 additional elementary teachers to end a practice of having one teacher instruct two grade levels of students in a single classroom.