Working as a library aide at Fritsch Elementary School is Connie Fronapfel's ideal job - but it won't be for long.
"I love it," she said. "I work for the kids and that's what makes it so great."
However, she won't be back next year. Her position is one of 21 in the Carson City School District that is being eliminated.
"We had kind of heard scuttle that things were going to be cut," she said. "I thought it was going to be more material things. So when I was brought in on Friday, I was shocked.
"I have no clue what I'm going to do."
Superintendent Mary Pierczynski said officials began planning the cuts in November, after it was determined that, for the first time in more than a decade, student population did not increase.
"We're spending more than we're bringing in," she explained. "It's been going on for some time now and it has to stop."
With contract negotiations with teachers at a standstill, it may seem the cuts coincide with demands for a raise.
Pierczynski denied any connection. She said the plans have been in the works for months and the timing of their announcement is to benefit those whose jobs are being eliminated.
"The reason for coming out with this in March is to enable those who are part of the reduction in force to look for positions in other school districts that may be hiring," she said. "I don't want to wait until June or July when they can't find another job."
Sharon Arno, librarian at Bordewich-Bray Elementary School, said her job will be impossible without her aide, whose job was cut.
"My whole program will disintegrate," she said. "I teach the kids in this library sign language. We have pet therapy. These will no longer be an option. Teaching library skills will not be an option."
Arno said she often has between 30 and 35 students, ranging in levels of need, in her library at a time, who check out up to 70 books. There's also reshelving and organizing to be done.
"I think this is a disservice to all librarians," she said. "We were told that libraries were the 'least impactful' of all the cuts."
Of the 21 positions cut, 11 of them were simply not filled when the employee retired or resigned and 10 employees were given notice Friday and Monday.
"Any time we have a situation where employees are affected negatively, it's something we regret," said Richard Stokes, associate superintendent of human resources. "We would much rather continue on as we have in the past. Unfortunately, we will not be able to continue in the same way."
As income dropped relative to the drop in student enrollment, Stokes said the obvious choice was to cut staff.
"Eighty-seven percent of our budget goes to personnel costs," he said. "We knew that's where we needed to look to decide some reductions."
Seven library aides were cut, two classroom aides and one music teacher.
Those with seniority can bump someone with lower standing to take that person's job.
"This could have pretty wide-ranging effects," Stokes said.
The extent of the layoffs will be explained at the Carson City School Board meeting on March 23.
Employees plan to protest the layoffs at the meeting.
Contact Teri Vance at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 881-1272.