BEDFORD — As North Lawrence Community Schools continues to look for ways to be more efficient and cut costs, support staff has been identified as one area that could be trimmed.

During a meeting of the NLCS board Thursday, interim Superintendent Ty Mungle told board members 23 instructional aides did not receive end of year assurance letters, which are customary to inform non-contract employees of their continued employment.

He said it’s possible the support staff members could find jobs elsewhere in the school corporation or there could be instructional aide openings by the time school starts in August. But Mungle said based on enrollment projections, the corporation could not assure those 23 employees of their jobs for next year.

Mungle explained after the meeting the need to reduce expenses was a factor.

“If North Lawrence continues to employ everyone we have, we can never increase our salaries and benefits while our enrollment and revenue decreases,” he said. “It’s our goal that we increase salaries and wages, but it’s not going to happen overnight.”

Mungle said the corporation has support staff openings in food service, special education, custodial and as bus monitors.

“These employees are not being terminated, these are positions we couldn’t guarantee, but if they need a job, we have openings in other areas,” Mungle said.

Among certified teachers, Mungle said a few teachers working on temporary contracts will not have a job next year with NLCS, but certified teachers under a permanent contract will keep their positions.

Mungle and the board recognized 20 teachers and 11 support staff who are retiring from NLCS. The teachers represent 662 years of service and the support staff 245 years of service. A reception was held before the meeting and those in attendance received a gift.

Most of those teaching positions, most of which were in elementary buildings, won’t be filled with new teachers. Instead, other teachers will be shifted throughout the system. The board approved the transfer of 36 teachers.

IT support

In a 5-2 vote, the board approved a one-year contract with Five-Star Technology Solutions for unlimited IT support and services. NLCS has a been using Five-Star for about 10 years for limited tech services. NLCS has for many years employed its own IT director and four technicians. Erik Mosier, director of school engagement for Five-Star, said the company is based in Indiana and specializes in schools.

“We serve 65 school districts, and we try to bring you the expertise you need,” he said.

Mungle said Five-Star brings additional support and services to the corporation and said the cost, $360,000, is comparable to what the corporation spends already.

“So much of what we do is interfaced with technology,” he said. “It’s vital we look at a company that is successful at supporting schools.”

The four technicians NL employs will continue to work for NLCS through August and will be invited to apply for jobs with Five-Star. IT Director Phil Richason can also apply for a position or he can return to the classroom as a teacher.

Five-Star will assist NLCS with an update of its WiFi this summer in several buildings.

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