CEDAR FALLS - Area Education Agency 267 Chief Administrator Dean Meier is recommending 15 staff layoffs due to anticipated reductions in service needs.

The AEA 267 board of directors Tuesday received Meier's recommendation to terminate the licensed staff contracts. However, the issue needs to return to the board at its May 5 meeting for action on the recommendation, as required under state law.

Public employees who are potentially being laid off for the coming fiscal year must receive notice by March 30. Directors initially discussed the potential cuts last month.

Agency spokeswoman Beth Strike said the reductions are being recommended "because of program changes regarding Devonshire School, Eldora State Training School and a multidisciplinary severe and profound program in Mason City. We remain hopeful that most - if not all - positions will be back next year."

Waterloo Community Schools is planning on pulling its students out of Devonshire and serving them within the district. Waterloo students account for most of those attending the severe behavior disorder school. For Devonshire students from other districts, the middle school program will move to Castle Hill School in Waterloo and the high school program will move to Bremwood in Waverly.

Eleven of the 15 staff reductions are the result of Devonshire closing. However, Strike noted that reductions are based on seniority and, therefore, do not impact all Devonshire staff. The same would be true for the Eldora State Training School and the Mason City program.

In addition, officials with Waterloo Schools and AEA 267 have suggested that some Devonshire staff may be hired for the district's new severe behavior disorder program.

In other business, the board:

-- Accepted the resignation of board member Susan Klaessy, who holds the Director District 8 seat. An election by the boards of five school districts represented by the seat will be scheduled for sometime in May.

-- Approved a bid to lease print and production equipment from Advance Systems/Infomax. The lease will cost $7,715 per month or $92,584 annually. Strike said that's a savings of $64,000 per year due to more competitive pricing and right size equipment for current needs.

"What we're doing is streamlining the whole print production process," she explained. Software that's part of the new equipment will allow the agency to manage work flow better by allowing jobs to be done at any of its three print centers based on the volume of work at any one time. "It really integrates all three print shops," said Strike.

-- Approved a $45,519 bid from Thomas Bus Sales of Des Moines to purchase a 21-passenger bus for preschool programs.

n Approved discontinuing AEA 267's Co-op Purchasing Program as of Sept. 30. Officials say its functions will be picked up by the Iowa Educators Consortium, which is based in Cedar Falls and works with all AEAs in the state.

-- Approved submitting a $5,000 grant application that will help with the purchase of materials for districts to support their literacy work.

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