Notice of job, salary cuts sent to HPSD employees

Notice of job, salary cuts sent to HPSD employees

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - A notice of job and salary cuts has been sent to employees of the Hattiesburg Public School District.

Interim superintendent Greg Ladner said letters about the cuts were sent to employees Thursday and the district sent out more letters Friday that outline specific cuts.

The Hattiesburg Public Schools Board of Trustees approved immediate salary cuts, layoffs and a suspension of the district's pay scale Tuesday.

Ladner said the cuts will save about $200,000.

The board spent two hours in executive session with Interim Superintendent Greg Ladner before announcing their approval of his plans.

"Over the next two weeks, there will be salary reductions as well as a number of layoffs in a number of areas," Ladner said.

Ladner said of the district's 800 employees, 400 are legally protected by the Education Employment Procedures Law to be able to keep their jobs.

"Under that law, there are certain times of the year that you must notify teaching personnel and administrative personnel in a timely manner in accordance with the law," Ladner said.

Along with that law, Ladner said Hattiesburg has specific reduction enforcement policy.

"It does allow this district to cut employees based on our financial situations," he said. "We can notify employees of what is called non-renewal at specific points in the year."

Ladner said principals must be notified by March 1 if they will not be working for the district next school year, and other employees must be notified by April 15. He said he plans to start contacting employees who will be laid off verbally and by letter in the next two weeks.

The other major cost cutting measure the district is implementing is suspension of the pay scale. That suspension means that employees with higher degrees will no longer be making a higher salary.

"Hattiesburg has had a very what you might call liberal scale in the past," Ladner said. "Now,  that scale is done the way that it is to most certainly try to entice our professional people to go back to school and further their education. But at this time, a scale like that can be really binding and make us have to do with unforeseeable advancements in salaries that we just not able to meet because of our current financial situation."

Ladner said he and the board discussed Tuesday specific personnel and positions that could be impacted, but said those employees have not been notified yet.