13 teachers notified contracts not renewed
Pushed by a May 1 deadline for notifying teachers of the possibility of nonrenewal of their contracts and the potential of needing to trim around $200,000 from the Baldwin School District budget, school board members voted to send letters of intent of nonrenewal to 13 teachers.
Board President Ed Schulte had explained to the 90 people on hand for a budget-cutting public forum Monday night that tough decisions were having to be made.
"I think it's important for everyone to realize we're trying to make decisions about what's best for kids," Schulte said in opening the meeting. "Unfortunately, it's what hurts kids least. We are talking about budget cuts in programs that are good for kids. We're trying to do what hurts least."
As for the teachers, he emphasized that the letters of intent were necessary because of the May 1 deadline for notification, but it didn't mean that those positions would be lost. It won't be until later when the legislature determines school funding that the final decisions will be made.
"Right now we're trying to develop a cushion," Schulte said. "We don't know what the legislature will do. We have to make very hard decisions as far as staffing before we know what the state will give us.
"It doesn't look like anyone is going to say raise taxes and revenues," he said. "We don't have a lot to play with. How much do we need to cut? We don't know."
The Baldwin School District budget is roughly $9.2 million. Depending on what the state determines, there could be as much as $236,000 or more that needs to be trimmed.
Schulte also stressed that the board didn't want to cut teachers, but it may have to happen.
"The crunch time is caused by the need to notify teacher of possible nonrenewal by May 1," he said. "Those notices can be rescinded after the fact. It's a real shell game.
"Unlike other school districts, we have not cut any positions in the past years. We do not want to do that," Schulte said.
The board met in executive session for almost an hour before announcing the teachers that would receive notification of possible nonrenewal.
They are: Nancy Kincaid, Baldwin Elementary School, first grade teacher; Sue Demarest, BES, kindergarten; Brian Ash, Baldwin Junior High School, social studies; Ann Katzenmeier, Vinland Elementary School, 3rd-5th grade science; Nick Harris, BJHS, 6th grade science; Mindi Bott, Marion Springs Elementary, 2nd grade; Chris Aspegren, BJHS reading and Baldwin High School English; Sheryl Drew, MSE, VES and BES, art; Carol Landis, MSE, music; Rita Tutschulte, VES and MSE, librarian; Bill Osburn, BHS and BJHS, industrial technology; Lori George, BES, early childhood center; and Carolyn Groves, staff development director.