Pleasant School Board Makes Painful Cuts

A group of concerned parents, students, and residents attended the Pleasant School Board meeting Monday, May 24. While passionate speeches were made, board members said the cuts had to be made to make up for shortfalls in the budget. Without new money, school officials warn the next round of cuts will be even worse.

The cuts were outline previously, but on Monday, the vote included the specific teachers and employees that would be laid off. Those cuts and changes include:

• Cancel summer 2010 physical education classes
• Close all buildings after school to non-fee activities
• Cancel summer 2010 band camp travel
• Turn off classroom lights on sunny days
• Turn off elementary exterior classroom air conditioning
• Flag girl/majorette supplemental position will not be filled
• The high school lit magazine/news supplemental will not be filled
• Reduce assistant treasurer to 3/4 time if the teachers’ association agrees to cut payroll to one time per month and mandate direct deposit and e-mail notices. That descision should be known this week
• Reduce school nurse from 720 hrs to 532 hours annually – Catherine Irons
• RIF (1) administrative contract in 2011-2012 if no levy passage
• Increase class sizes through attrition
• Reduce high school secretaries' hours – Dolly Russell (from 40 hours per week to 25 hours per week) and Shannon Massey (from 40 hours per week to 35 hours per week)
• RIF (1/2) middle school secretary – Deb Johnson
• RIF (1) middle school study hall monitor- Donna Hicks
• RIF (1) high school study hall monitor- Melissa McCleary
• RIF (1) part-time ISS detention monitor – no employee notice required
• RIF (o.6 fte) elementary guidance- Diane Strang
• RIF (.4) middle school guidance (0.6 fte remainder) – no notice required (Diane Strang will be transferred to this position)
• RIF (1) 4th/5th grade math tutor – Karianne Maniaci
• RIF (1/2 fte) k-12 certified Spanish position- Julie Wigton
• RIF (1) elementary library aide position – Elaine Woodrum (Woodrum will displace an elementary aide)
• RIF (1) middle school library aide position – Shanna Garverick
• RIF (1) middle school special education position – Jennifer Williams (Williams will be re-assigned to elementary/middle school/Pleasant Education Academy)
• RIF (1) high school special education position – no notice required
• RIF (1) middle school art position – Jane Nelson (Nelson will be transferred to elementary art)
• RIF (1) k-12 certified music position – Robert Hayes
• RIF (1/2) k-12 certified music position – Julie Kubbs
• RIF (1) k-8 certified middle school position – Jeanie Kuchenbecker (Kuchenbecker will be transferred to elementary teaching position)

The above cuts affect music and art, among other things, across the district. With the changes, Julie Kubbs will take over responsibility for Middle School and High School band and there will be no music at the Elementary. The Elementary will still have art, however. The Middle School will have choral and instrumental music, but they will have no art.

In addition to the cuts, the Board voted to increase the pay-to-participate fees for the 2010-2011 school year. The fees for High School Extra-Curricular Activities will no be $250 per year, per child which includes all OHSAA athletics. There is no limit on the number of activities in which a student may participate.

Middle School Extra-Curricular Inter-mural Activities will be $100 per year, per child. Again, there is no limit on the number of activities in which a student may participate.

There is no longer a family cap for the fees and they do not include the fees for the Drug and Alcohol Testing Program. These fees will also no longer be waived for students who are eligible to receive free or reduced lunches.

There are no fees for marching band because it is a curricular event. There are also no fees for clubs at the High School or Middle School (i.e. French Club, Yearbook, etc).

The above cuts and fee increases could just be the beginning however. The Board estimates the changes will equal $669,000 in savings for the district. That still does not close the entire projected deficit. The Board says that without the passage of a new levy in November or next May, they will be forced to make deeper cuts. The first step, they say, will be the elimination of all extra-curricular activities for the 2011-2012 school year.

About Sean DeWitt

Sean DeWitt is an owner of Neighborhood Image and Marion Online. Sean is a board member of Boys & Girls Club of Marion County and involved with various other non-profits including Downtown Marion, EnVISIONing Marion County, and more.