WATERTOWN — In working through its remote plan that continues until Jan. 29, the Watertown City School District has been having ongoing discussions regarding topics like furloughs and shared work.

While layoffs are always a possibility when the need for workforce reduction arises, the district is not currently in the position where it needs to go there, Superintendent Patricia B. LaBarr said Tuesday night at the second January Board of Education meeting.

“If we have to continually switch to extended periods of remote, then we need to put some plans in place, because we wouldn’t always necessarily need all the staff,” she said. “We don’t want to be short-term about it, we want to think about the long term.”

Mrs. LaBarr said, as of December, there were about 3,900 students in the district and about 650 employees. Data from the National Center for Education Statistics show that across the eight schools in the district there were a total of 4,329 students and 297 classroom teachers for the 2018-19 school year. Other staff, including instructional aides, counselors, librarians, district administrators, school administrators and those in student support services, totaled 271.

Enrollment and staff characteristics for the 2019-20 school year are not yet available.

The district’s expenses for the 2020-21 budget total just over $77 million, with employee benefits accounting for $19.16 million of that, and instructional costs totaling $33.13 million.

The district’s hope is when school starts back up in September, everything is up and running at 100% with the district able to maintain that staff for as long as it’s able.

As these are just discussions at this point, nothing has yet been set in stone.

The district is hoping to set some things in place so that by the end of this current remote period, if it needs to move in a specific direction, there will be a plan in place to do so.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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