MARSHFIELD — The principal of Twinfield Union School says no layoffs are expected as the school looks to cut four teaching positions.
Residents in Marshfield and Plainfield, who send their students to Twinfield, approved the school’s budget Tuesday on Town Meeting Day. The budget cuts about $400,000 in personnel, including four full-time teaching positions.
Had those cuts not been made, residents would have seen a tax rate increase as large as 30 cents, as the state levies penalties on budgets above set limits on per-pupil spending. School officials said that budget would not have passed so the cuts were necessary.
Instead, Plainfield residents will see a 5.6-cent increase in the tax rate, and Marshfield residents will see a 6.5-cent increase.
Twinfield Principal Mark Mooney said Friday the school can eliminate four positions without firing anyone because two teachers have decided to retire, and two others have decided to work at another school.
“We’re able to do it without eliminating anybody that wants to be back next year,” he said.
Mooney said he can’t discuss too many specifics about who will be leaving because he’s constrained by the teachers contract, and those involved haven’t made their plans public. Teachers don’t have to give official notice until April 15.
Mooney said the only person who has publicly announced retirement plans is kindergarten teacher Sharyn Baum, who has been in education for 42 years.
“An unbelievably great kindergarten teacher who is leaving at the top of her game. She’s still excellent, but she’s calling it a career,” Mooney said.
He said the school is still figuring out what it will look like next year without those four positions. Baum’s kindergarten teaching position won’t be cut; instead, Mooney will move another teacher into that role, and three have already expressed interest.
One of the likely-cut positions will be an interventionist who helps students struggling academically. The school currently has three.
“We’re looking at a creative way to still provide extra support for kids of need by changing our schedule a little bit and looking at a different way of doing things, which we were thinking about anyways,” Mooney said, adding the changes will have fairly limited impact on students.
There was also talk about combining grades under one teacher. Mooney said the school has done that in the past and may combine the fourth- and fifth-graders into one class.
“Even that decision hasn’t been locked in stone yet,” he said.
Some decisions are still up in the air because there may be “another shoe to drop” if another teacher decides to take a job elsewhere between now and April 15, Mooney said.