COLUMBUS JCT., Iowa — More than a dozen teaching and staff positions will be eliminated in the Columbus School District next year, the board has agreed. The reduction will save the district a projected $461,639.

The district, which lost 75 students this year and nearly 200 students over the past five years, faced a $450,000 shortfall in next year’s budget. Superintendent Marlene Johnson, however, warned the district may face the same shortage next year and likely will face a similar reduction need.

Under the reduction plan approved Monday, positions that would be eliminated include middle school counselor, elementary school administration manager; teaching positions in high school math, half-time high school Spanish, physical education, third grade, six grade and preschool; paraeducator positions in general education, library and two in the elementary; and a high school secretary.

According to the package, a K-8 at-risk teacher would be added, using funds generated by the reductions. In order to allow the district to cut the physical education position, Johnson said the school would need to reduce its graduation requirement for PE.

Johnson said she would now meet with the district’s attorney and determine how to determine which teachers would eventually receive a pink slip. She said the master contract calls for using seniority, evaluations, certifications and other factors. The district has until April 30 to provide staff with reduction notices, although Johnson said she hoped to speed up that notification.