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updated: 7/27/2011 5:17 PM

Teachers recalled in Cary District 26

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The cost-savings from closing a middle school, as well as reducing more staff than it needed to, enabled Cary Elementary District 26 to bring back many of the teachers pink-slipped in March.

At Monday's board meeting, the school board unanimously approved the recall of 12 positions for the 2011-2012 year. The board had eliminated 17 positions earlier this year.

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In a memo to the board, Superintendent Brian Coleman said the positions were open due to resignations and an initial reduction in force that cut more positions than necessary.

Those recalled positions include physical education at Cary Junior High School, elementary school teachers at Briargate and Deer Path and specialists.

The $1.4 million the district saved in shutting down Prairie Hill Middle School after the 2010-2011 school year was also a factor, school board President Christopher Spoerl said.

"When we closed Prairie Hill, we realized enough cost savings this year and decided to lower class sizes to the extent we could," Spoerl said Wednesday. "That has been the primary goal of the board, to lower class sizes as much as possible."

With the closure of Prairie Hill, district leaders said, the average class size would increase by 2.1 students to about 31.8 students.

Board member Scott Coffey said the recalls address some of the overcrowding.

"We targeted areas and identified certain areas where class size was an issue," Coffey said. "The list of recalls represents certain classes at certain schools."

In March, the district approved the reduction in force of 17 positions in lieu of concessions from the teachers union. District negotiators requested $2.5 million in wage and benefit concessions from the union.

The district and union have been hammering out a new contract for the past seven months, with negotiations currently at an impasse. The current contract expires the day before school starts on Wednesday, Aug. 24.

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