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Decreases in state aid resulting from declining enrollments are expected to force school districts across West Virginia to eliminate teaching, administrative, and service positions to balance their fiscal 1988 budgets.

A survey by the state department of education late last month found that West Virginia's 55 county school districts plan to lay off a total of about 400 teachers and administrators and 200 service personnel, according to Willis W. Moore, assistant chief of the department's bureau of finance and services.

Shrinking school enrollments are the main reason for the announced layoffs, Mr. Moore said.

Under the school-aid formula, the state provides districts with funds for 55 professional educators for every 1,000 students enrolled. A similar formula is used to compute the funds the state provides districts for service personnel.

"Counties are finding they are unable to afford staff levels that the state school-aid formula does not fund,'' Mr. Moore said.

Districts may face further staff reductions, he added, if a bill currently being debated by state lawmakers is approved. The measure would further erode districts' adjusted-enrollment figures by capping the number of special-education students districts could count in requesting state aid, he said.

Currently, districts may add two students to their enrollment counts for every student requiring special-education services.

That provision, Mr. Moore said, has enabled districts in previous years to preserve staff levels even while overall enrollments have declined.

In a higher-education development, Gov. Arch A. Moore last week ordered the Board of Regents to abandon a money-saving plan that would have cut a week out of this year's spring semester at the 16 state colleges and universities.

Vol. 06, Issue 29

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