SOUTHBRIDGE - The state-managed school district has various pressing needs, including a great deal of work to be done in closing performance gaps in English Language Arts and math.

In an extensive presentation Tuesday to the School Committee and Town Council, Superintendent-Receiver Jeffrey A. Villar said there was no way to sugarcoat the “sobering results” of the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessments System.

Southbridge’s results in ELA were in the bottom 5 percent of schools statewide, Mr. Villar said. Similarly, in math, he said, the vast majority of students are only partially meeting expectations.

Also, in its assessment of 136 kindergarten students, 112 are in need of improvement or interventions, while only 11 students are on grade level, the receiver said.

The district has a great deal of work around language arts with respect to letter-naming fluency, a kindergarten skill that is a prerequisite to being able to read, he said.

It will be necessary to make sure that each teacher has a full understanding of the latest science around instructing children to read, because there’s no margin for error, Mr. Villar added.

The district also needs to retain teachers and stop what the receiver said was a revolving door of turnover. Its retention rate of 55 percent is a recipe to not improve, he said. The district can’t continue to train new teachers every year. Last year it hired 78 new people and this year 104.

He said the district examined its hiring process last summer and took steps to get educators on board quicker.

Meanwhile, Mr. Villar said, the district won’t wait until year’s end to redistribute resources when it should be responsive to feedback on the ground.

For instance, climate and culture is in need of improvement now, he said, and so the district created four engagement counselors at the high school and middle school. The counselors implement student structures and routines outlined by building administrators. He called their addition an important change that is expected to pay dividends.

Also, data suggested that the district needed to enhance special education with additional support for students with emotional difficulties and autism.

The receiver said those students would be given additional opportunities to be in a self-contained classroom for a period of the day, if not the whole day, depending on individual needs.

He said the district is also monitoring costs in various areas. Southbridge Academy, an alternative school for troubled students, will allow the district to save $452,000 in tuition and transportation by not having to send 11 students out of the district.

Unemployment compensation, “a sore subject” for some time, Mr. Villar noted, stands at $156,563, due in part to last year’s layoffs of 36 employees. Those costs are expected to decrease as former workers find jobs, he said.

The district is even monitoring the unfolding issue of the possible discontinuation of trash and recycling service to the town from Casella Waste Systems. Mr. Villar said the district produces a great amount of trash, and it has reached out to other school systems to find out what they do for services, so that Southbridge might develop a contingency plan. Mr. Villar noted that just last week there was illegal dumping at a school in town.

Town Council Chairman John D. Jovan asked Mr. Villar the extent to which staff has bought into what the receiver is trying to put forward.

Mr. Villar, who joined the district in February, amid a series of leadership changes in the district, acknowledged that there has been a sense of waiting for him to leave. Another leadership change, he said, would be the worst circumstance for educators.

He said it may take a while before workers believe he’s committed to staying until things get better.

Mr. Villar said teachers have also expressed that they want support.

“They’re working really hard,” he said. “It’s a very difficult job to be a teacher, no matter where you are - and then you introduce the instability we have, it makes it have that much harder.”