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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Hours cut for aides at Greencastle Schools

Thursday, January 14, 2010

GREENCASTLE -- About 25 instructional assistants for the Greencastle Community School Corp. will have their work hours cut, effective Jan. 18.

The aides will all be working one less hour per day. The cuts will save the corporation about $90,000 over a 12-month period.

The GCSC Board approved the cuts at its meeting Wednesday as part of an effort to trim a significant amount from the corporation's budget.

On Dec. 31, GCSC superintendent Robert Green received a letter from the Indiana Department of Education stating the district's 2010 tuition support funding allocation would be an estimated $11,664,488.73 -- about $471,000 less than was originally expected.

"This happened as of Jan. 1," Green told the board. "We had no time to get ready and offset it."

Deer Meadow Principal Gwen Morris is a member of a committee working with Green on finding ways to cut the corporation's budget. She said cutting the hours of the aides "was a hard decision."

"They're wonderful people and they do so much for us," she said.

Greencastle Teacher's Association Co-President Nicole Kempf warned the board against making any hasty decisions.

"One hour a day may not seem like a ton, but it is," she said. "The aides are already spread thin."

Board member Kelly Lewis wanted to table until the board's February meeting the measure to cut the hours of the aides.

"It doesn't appear to me that one month would be that big of a savings," he said. "I'm just not in favor of the first cut we make affecting instruction."

Kempf agreed.

"Ten thousand dollars isn't much of a savings compared to a lawsuit if services aren't provided," she said.

Green presented the board with a list of several other cost-cutting suggestions, most of which, if approved, would take effect in August. Those suggestions included:

* Closing the Miller School building.

* Closing Ridpath School.

* Eliminating four part-time teachers.

* Eliminating six full-time teachers.

* Cutting all salaries corporation-wide by 3.5 percent.

* Eliminating all vocational offerings.

* Cutting in some areas of high school sports.

* Eliminating summer school.

* Reducing expenditures for school libraries.

* Eliminating the district newsletter.

* Eliminating middle school sports.

* Freezing teacher step raises.

Green said he didn't like to "be all doom and gloom," but that he wanted to present the facts realistically.

"The financial situation is not looking good," he said. "It's not a very pleasant subject."

Green said the funding that would not be received would have gone into the corporation's general fund -- about 94 percent of which is used to pay personnel.

"When you look at things to cut, it doesn't give you a lot of wiggle room," he said.

Green is working with a committee of about 40 people -- about 40 percent of which are not school employees -- to explore possible budget cuts.

"We certainly don't want to lay off anybody," Green said. "But if there's any fat in the budget, I don't know where it is. These cuts are going to hurt. I don't know what else to say. I've gone through RIF (reduction in force) before. I've seen what it does to people."

Lewis asked what kind of timeline Green was looking at to take more significant budget cut action.

"There's a legal process for laying off teachers," Green said. "I believe we have to give them at least 60 days' notice. We'd probably need to decide what we were doing by March or April at the latest."

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These are tough times... The company I work for cut everyones salaries across the board to be fair. I am just thankful to still have my job, and thankful the management stepped up to ease the company woes, so that we do not lose good employees. When a ship is taking on water it helps if everyone bails it out... Question is.. can everyone agree to a corporation wide salary cut? Maybe I misunderstood? Did the school co. already over spend based on what they estimated they were receiving, or is just projecting to not have enough to cover all costs?


Concerned Parent

-- Posted by brian01 on Thu, Jan 14, 2010, at 2:19 AM

would the teachers agree to a salary cut in order to save the aides and to prevent a severe cut in students programs??

-- Posted by albert on Thu, Jan 14, 2010, at 6:51 AM

WOW! Tough job for Dr. Green and all others involved. Good luck to Dr. Green and the Board of Education! You have some TOUGH decisions coming very quickly.

Thank you Governor Daniels and those in the General Assembly who supported the state taking control of the General Fund, taking away local control. All in the name of controlling property taxes.

Maybe we should take a serious look at the effects of that move.

Think about it!

-- Posted by cvilleguy on Thu, Jan 14, 2010, at 7:50 AM

Like all corporations, top heavy, well paid management will fair better than any of the people that actually do the labor. In this case teaching and assisting the teaching of our students. Students, Aides, and Teachers are the least and most affected of this 4 or 5 year debacle of School Funding that has gone on in Indiana. Management cares not for our students on an individual basis. Management, Administrations & State Government are only there for themselves, to make themselves fatter and richer at the expense of every last individual. File another report, make another standard test, create more data, RIF teachers, release Aides and Janitors and Maintenance to fend for themselves. Tell the public, it's always the teacher's fault.

-- Posted by Hoosier Hiker on Thu, Jan 14, 2010, at 7:51 AM

Hey Dr. Green, how much of a cut are you taking? If it were up to me, the four county school systems would have one superintendent and one assistant. Vigo county only has one and they are dealing with a lot more students than what's in Putnam County. How much money would that save?

-- Posted by bigchief968 on Thu, Jan 14, 2010, at 8:04 AM

How about exploring the possibility of NOT letting school board members having health insurance provided by the corporation? Especially since at least one of those board members takes the insurance for FREE!

-- Posted by silvercitizen on Thu, Jan 14, 2010, at 8:21 AM

Honestly we need to take a good hard look at what will happen if we cut out sports programs. Sports keep many kids out of trouble. They also help them keep their grades up because without the grade you are not playing the game so what would some of these kids have to look forward to. Honestly, how much would we save if we cut your pay Dr. Greene.

You say it is hard to cut the aids pay well then do not, cut yours. The aids do not get paid when there is no school. They have no insurance benefits, so seriously lets take a look at where we should really be cutting the pay.

Kids are our future and without a better education and great sports programs we are they headed.

If you are so concerned about our children then man up and take the cut yourself.

-- Posted by sunshine gurl on Thu, Jan 14, 2010, at 8:29 AM

These are tough times and I am sorry Dr. Green and the board has this problem to deal with. However, someone give some leadership and move towards consolidating the Central Offices of the four county systems. Schools would not have to be closed but the savings could be significant.

-- Posted by justasking on Thu, Jan 14, 2010, at 9:52 AM

Who makes money from the Schools? Banks for one! See where the building bonds are? Just maybe they have some connection to Bail-Out Companies... Billions have been given out, kind of like taking from Peter to pay Paul. Get the bail out money back by getting rid of the schools debt in some type of formula in troubled districts. Then hold the school boards to some new standards.

-- Posted by macvrod on Thu, Jan 14, 2010, at 10:54 AM

How about 4 day school week? Think of the money corporations would save by buses running one less day a week.

-- Posted by SamHill on Thu, Jan 14, 2010, at 1:15 PM

at least take it down to two high schools....four high schools is way too many!!

-- Posted by ZRXguy on Thu, Jan 14, 2010, at 1:21 PM

Lets take a look at the pre-school program that did not have enough funds to start with......A program that I believe was designed to help children that need an extra boost before kindergarten,but now the program is taking on several "model" children as you call them and therefore leaves less open spaces for the children this program was designed for.

-- Posted by Just_Me on Thu, Jan 14, 2010, at 3:38 PM

You could still keep four high schools, just put them under one administrative umbrella. When the Daniels administration suggested this a year or two ago there was much wailing as to how unworkable that suggestion was. I would guess that the Greencastle School Corp has some accounts with surplus monies in them. Perhaps the comprehensive budget should be looked at and not just the budget based on tax revenues. Like all businesses, schools must learn to live within their budgets.

-- Posted by exhoosier2 on Thu, Jan 14, 2010, at 4:04 PM

Big Stick how is this Governor Daniels fault? That makes so little sense. The schools are having to cut because the economy is bad. Too bad so sad. Everybody but Washington which is controlled by the Democrats has had to tighten their belts. Truth be told for way too many years now most schools have been wasting money. Classic example the thought that we need multiple computers in every classroom. Why? What good does a computer do you when you can't read, write and do basic math? Or better yet having the state of the art stadiums and weight rooms for the atheltic programs. Great use of property tax money. This has nothing to do with the rich getting richer everybody has to make cuts. Well except for the White House and Democratic controlled Congress.

-- Posted by Heritage Lake Resident on Thu, Jan 14, 2010, at 4:44 PM

Big Stick that is where your facts are wrong. The economy began to go south in Clinton's last year in office. Then 9/11 happened and we went into a further recession. It was only the Bush tax cuts that helped get the economy turned back around. Furthermore I thought that unemployment and the economy would turn around after the Obama administration passed their wonderful Stimulus Bill. Remeber this bill must pass or unemployment will rise to 8% or higher! Remember that. So really if we want to split hairs I guess the current cuts the schools are having to make are really the Obama adminstrations fault. Furthermore, thanks to Mitch Daniels this state actually has a budget surplus when states like California have record deficits. I do feel for those who are having their hours and pay cut however, all of us are having to do what we can to just get by. Once again I ask why does every classroom have to have multiple computers or the schools athletic programs have to have state of the art weight rooms?

-- Posted by Heritage Lake Resident on Thu, Jan 14, 2010, at 8:57 PM

While I do not agree that aides do most of the teaching (as someone said early on in these comments), I do believe them to be an integral part of the school corporation. They already get paid salaries which force them to look for a second, perhaps even a third job, just to make ends meet. And then there's the question of health insurance. If Greencastle has been managing to get by over the past decade, and especially when faced with "No Child Left Behind" and its aftermath, it's in large part thanks to the aides. Don't fire them, give them a raise. And what about the teaching faculty? I don't think that any residents realize that the GCSC teachers have not had a raise in three (3) years. 3. And they -still- do their job to its fullest. Cut Green's salary in half, then make up the rest elsewhere.

Also, Heritage Lake Res: By saying that the current state of education in Indiana is Obama's fault, you have proven that you certainly are nearsighted. Sure, the economy suffered in the last years of the Clinton era, but took a turn for the worse with Bush. Now, official unemployment rates are currently above 10%, not 8. 8% would be a radical improvement. Also, if you want to get right down to it, nix the I-69 extension and sell Lucas Stadium.

I only hope that Mitch will come to his senses before Indiana's public instruction drops below that of MS and Arkansas.

-- Posted by the_bugler on Fri, Jan 15, 2010, at 4:18 AM

Let me see: Teacher's Aide $9 an hour, Beginning teacher $30,000 a year, Principal $100,000 a year and Superintendant $150,000 a year. Is it really that hard to see where the cuts need to be made. If money has been mishandled don't blame the teachers, who always seem to get all the grief, they don't handle the money. They seem to be the ones being punished for it though and the Superintendants get nothing.

-- Posted by belleunion on Fri, Jan 15, 2010, at 6:46 AM

Bugler, I do not disagree that the economy took a turn for the worse in the last year especially of the Bush years. I agree with you in selling Lucas Oil. I was not for the taxpayer funding that project either. My point is that everybody is having to make cuts. I agree with those who say the Superintendent should cut his pay. I am a tecaher not in Putnam County but I am well aware of how much teachers and teachers aides get paid. Here's and idea why don't the schools stop the bus routes inside of Greencastle City limits? Wonder how much money that would save? I do feel for the teachers aides but atleast they still have jobs. Furthermore, nobody still is answering the question as to why we need to have multiple computers in every classroom or why the athletics department have to have great weight rooms and stadiums.

-- Posted by Heritage Lake Resident on Fri, Jan 15, 2010, at 8:22 AM

Heritage Lake Resident: They gotta have the PC's in the rooms so people can get on Facebook and Myspace and look up other "important" stuff. I'm not just talking about the students either. As for the weight rooms and fancy stadiums, that is a huge payoff. Look how many state championships Greencastle has had in various sports over the years. Oh wait a minute, nevermind about that. Maybe they should have used that money on coaches.

-- Posted by bigchief968 on Fri, Jan 15, 2010, at 4:15 PM

Big, thanks for clearing that up for me. Sad part about it is everything you said is true. Not just in Putnam County but all across the country. 40 years ago we had the best education system in the world bar none and we did not spend nearly the amount of money we spend on education now. Where has all the moeny gone?

-- Posted by Heritage Lake Resident on Fri, Jan 15, 2010, at 9:14 PM

Dr. Green and Gwen Morris heading up the committee! Sounds like board members and the teachers rep have a lot more sense than anyone. Maybe a new committee needs formed.

As for closing Ridpath, how much has Depauw offered? That is what that school corp if hoping for in the future. Make it a preschool and offices and they will have to shut it down. My prediction is Depauw owns that building within the next five years. Talk to anyone that works at Ridpath and they wouldn't work anywhere else. It is a great school. Their employees are great. Can anyone say that about Dear Meadow? Get with the program Dr Green.

-- Posted by inaweofthings on Sat, Jan 16, 2010, at 6:42 PM

Heritage Lake and Big Chief, just so you know websites like facebook and myspace are not even accessible at our school. We have computers in several rooms at every desk not only in order to keep up with the way kids learn but also with the world around them. I also wanted to let you know that money for the PC's do not come out of our general fund. There are special state funds that dictate we can only use certain money for certain things, ie. technology. Also, most of our labs are provided by grants. Sometimes, I wish these kinds of things would be public access.

-- Posted by greencastlegrl on Mon, Jan 18, 2010, at 1:43 PM

Grants come from the taxpayer. What is the rate of students at Greencastle passing the ISTEP or GQE our whatever it is called now on the first time around. It is great that students can use computers but last time I checked you did not need computers to read, write and do math. Computers are a luxury not a necessity in education.

-- Posted by Heritage Lake Resident on Mon, Jan 18, 2010, at 10:03 PM

Heritage Lake Resident:

Have you seen the job landscape these kids will have to work in? It simply does not matter what field you go into now, computers are used. Try going to a job site sometime and looking up qualifications, almost every position listed will require computer proficiency, and often Microsoft Office proficiency. Computers are no longer a luxury in our world. They are a necessary skill for the next generation to succeed in their careers after school.

-- Posted by cloverfan on Tue, Jan 19, 2010, at 8:22 AM

Cloverfan, you miss what I am saying. Too many students today cannot even do the basics. Who cares if you know how to use a computer if you can't spell correctly! Granted the workforce does require you to have computer skills but being able to read fluently and write correctly are not skills that come from a computer.

-- Posted by Heritage Lake Resident on Tue, Jan 19, 2010, at 12:17 PM

Shutting down a terrific school like Ridpath would only hurt the children. Kindergartners, first graders and second graders benefit from being in a school that is small and teachers and administrators know them by name. Let's not lose them at an early age by rushing them into larger schools where they don't feel like they are special. Putting another grade level at TZ is not helping matters it is just making another school over crowded. Cut backs can happen without sacrificing good teaching and safe healthy learning environments for our students. How about cutting coaches salaries or looking for volunteers to coach our teams. Students involved in athletics should pay a fee for being in that sport. Why should the school system have to pay for warm up clothes, extra shirts and shorts for players outside of their uniform. Nobody needs a district newsletter, just publish it on the website. Should the schools have to provide free transportation to and from school. Charge a bus transportation fee for students who use the bus system. Athletes already pay a fee for using the bus to go to events why should going to school be any different. All summer schools costs not covered by the state should be charged to the students who have to attend including the costs of energy it takes to have the building open lights and air on. There are a lot of other ways to conserve and cut back on spending on the Citizen's Checklist that the state put out for all of the school systems to review than to eliminate an entire school and cause over crowding in the remaining schools. The amount of paperwork that comes home with students is absurd let's save money by not printing up so many notices. I do not need to see a printed menu it is published online. Traveling librarians that go to a school on a different day. Students update the websites with faculty overseeing. Publish a list of needs that you purchase on an annual basis to run the classrooms and ask for donations.Hopefully the school is not paying for Driver's Education class in the summer, students should be paying the full cost of that program. Corporation wide salary cut would be the most beneficial for all students and this should be done on a sliding scale, those at the top should have to take a bigger percentage cut than those at the lower end. Freeze early retirement packages. Why we still have the Miller school building is a mystery let's cut that unneeded expense off immediately. There are many ways to cut spending without eliminating an entire school and causing over crowding in the remaining schools. Ridpath is a newly remodeled school let's not waste all that money that we put into it and let our students utilize the benefits it brings to them that have already been paid for by the taxpayers.

-- Posted by greencastleparent on Tue, Jan 19, 2010, at 2:19 PM

It's kind of ironic that Bigstick chose to bash Mitch Daniels for this situation, as it was Mitch Daniels that made the suggestion for the 4 county schools to be consolidated as a money saving measure, when he visited Putnam County about a year ago(As reported by the Banner Graphic). I think getting rid of all but one administrative office is also a no brainer, and that should have been at the top of Green's list, rather than riffing teachers, or cutting sports, etc. But I guess we can't expect him to make a suggestion that is going to effect him directly, rather than effecting the aides, the lowest on the pecking order totem pole.

-- Posted by ursula on Tue, Jan 19, 2010, at 2:36 PM

Well said thelady and ursula!!!

-- Posted by Heritage Lake Resident on Tue, Jan 19, 2010, at 3:06 PM

Maybe if the parents of summer school students had to help pay some of the cost to have their child in that program, they would be a little more proactive about helping their children throughout the school year with homework and encouraging good study habits to keep those children out of summer school, just a thought.

-- Posted by farmers wife on Mon, Jan 25, 2010, at 7:25 PM

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