Since 2009, Newton USD 373 has been eliminating positions — though not laying off people.
"These were lost through attrition," said superintendent Deb Hamm. "This is not people told their job is ending. With the exception of the Axtell principal, but that person when to another position in the district."
During the span, 30.3 jobs have been eliminated — a mixture of classified, licensed and administrative staff.
Positions like instructional coaches — which were positions filled by and considered teaching staff. Para educators who work with students. A principal's position. The elementary director for curriculum and instruction. Janitorial staff. A public information officer and a grant writing position are all part of the 30.
In all, 11 classified (non licensed) positions have been eliminated and two administrative positions.
Hamm said 9.5 positions were classroom positions.
"When this happens class sizes get larger," Hamm said. "This was not program reduction or lack of need of the positions. … Looking over this list, I'd say these positions are needed and would be utilized by the district if we had them."
She pointed to the elimination of one counselor's position at the high school. At one time there were four counselors, there are now three. Each of the three are now assigned 350 students — students who need help in preparing for college, or guidance toward technical education programs.
She also pointed out that the district has eliminated custodial staff — while a bond issue has made for bigger buildings and more work for that same staff.
"We added square footage in the bond issue, but no more staff," Hamm said. "That puts the burden somewhere."
The cuts have come as funding has tightened.
"With 80 percent of our budget salaries, to try and keep it from classrooms, we reduce positions as they come up," Hamm said. " … The reality is, milk is going up .60 by March. Those things happen every single year. Without continued support, the fact is you can't provide the services you continue to provide without that support — and more support."