Archive for Thursday, May 13, 2004

Board discusses budget … again

May 13, 2004

No budget cuts have yet been confirmed by the Baldwin School District, which could be the cause of one possible rumor that brought a handful of parents to the school board meeting Monday.

A few parents spoke to the Baldwin Board of Education and shared concerns they had about advanced placement classes being cut next year.

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Ray Beall, a father of two Baldwin students, said he had heard the district was going to cut the AP classes, which he believed would hurt the students.

"There's a lot of pressure put on some of these kids in making higher grades," Beall said. "This is going to hurt them when they go to be accepted into college.

Baldwin parent Ginny Meinen said she and her high school daughter had also heard of the cuts in AP classes.

"My concern is mediocrity. I think mediocrity is a poor thing," she said.

"I don't think this is something we should go down the road on," Meinen said. "We need to attend to the needs of all children. Please do not cut the programs where children with higher abilities would have to suffer."

Board President Ed Schulte said the school board had been looking at and discussing a number of ways to cut the budget $250,000 in case state funding was not available.

"Given our budget status, we're being forced to look at everything," he said.

But though the board had discussed numerous options for cutting the budget, Schulte said discontinuing AP classes had not been one of them. None of the budget cut lists distributed at board meetings had ever listed AP classes as an area the district was considering cutting.

Supt. James White did give board members a new budget cut outline at Monday's meeting, one which listed his own recommendations for cutting $250,000 from the district's budget.

Some of White's 13 recommendations -- which totaled $260,000 -- included eliminating summer school to save $15,000, reducing the superintendent's salary $14,000, reducing building budgets $30,000, reducing a secretary position to save $17,000, reducing a food service supervisor for $20,000 and saving $15,000 in reduction of salary because of teacher turnover.

"It gives us at least the option to get to the figure we want," White said of his recommendations.

Schulte suggested the board consider White's recommendations before making further decisions regarding the budget.

"I think we need to take this, go back and compare it to things we've been looking at," he said.

One area the board discussed at an earlier meeting was administrator salaries. Board Member Scott Lauridsen told board members at the last meeting he was concerned that initial figures indicated Baldwin ranked the highest in administrative costs compared with other similar-sized school districts.

Baldwin High School Principal Allen Poplin, Assistant Principal Bret Jones and Baldwin Junior High School Assistant Principal Joe Gresnick presented the board with an in-depth breakdown of administrative costs, and how they compare with district enrollment, building enrollment, number of teachers, number of buildings, number of principals and their years in education and in the job.

Of the 22 schools highlighted, Baldwin ranked in the middle, not the top, in administrative costs.

"Our salaries are not what's out of line here," Poplin said.

In other business, the school board:

  • Approved in 7-0 vote to refinish the BJHS gym floor for $9,800. The money will come from capital outlay.
  • Met in executive session for 75 minutes in the middle of the meeting to discuss personnel. According to the agenda, the executive session was to discuss a coaching issue. No action was taken following executive session.
  • Met in executive session for one hour at the end of the meeting for personnel and negotiations. Following executive session the board approved in a 7-0 vote several resignations and employment recommendations.

The resignations that were approved were Jeff Haas, BHS boys basketball coach; Jeanne Scott, BHS language arts teacher; Brian Ash, BJHS At-Risk teacher; Kendra Knight, BHS assistant cheerleading coach; Shana Schroeder, BJHS cheerleading coach and eighth grade junior varsity coach; and Kim Callahan, BJHS assistant volleyball coach.

Employment recommendations that were approved were Mike Curran, Ted Zuzzio and Roger O'Neil, BHS driver's education teachers; Marsene Feldt, BJHS art teacher; Kim Barraclough and Teresa Muhl, BESPC kindergarten teachers; Dan Wallsmith, MSES second and third grade teacher; Amber Rhea, BHS assistant cheerleading coach.

Also approved by the board were the positions of Connie Wehmeyer, district curriculum director; Steve Hemphill, district technology coordinator; Roger O'Neil, district athletic director; and Gary Stevanus, BHS full-time substitute teacher. Classified hourly and salaried personnel were also approved.

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