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Tuesday, Mar. 31, 2015

Greencastle Schools may lay off teachers

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

GREENCASTLE -- Several teaching positions in the Greencastle Community School Corp. may be in jeopardy as the result of budget cuts.

Corporation officials have been trying to trim $471,000 from the corporation's budget since finding out on Dec. 31 that the district's 2010 tuition support funding allocation from the state would be less than expected. Last month, the Greencastle Community School Corp. Board of School Trustees approved work hour cuts for about 25 instructional assistants, which will mean a savings of about $90,000 over a 12-month period.

At Thursday's meeting, Superintendent Robert Green asked the board for permission to prepare Reduction in Force (RIF) letters to be sent to teachers stating their contracts were being canceled. The letters, to be in accordance with statute, would have to be sent out by the first week in March.

"We can rescind them later if we find we've been able to make cuts in other areas," Green said.

Green estimated as many as nine teachers may be laid off. He said meetings with principals and other school officials at each building would be held to determine which positions would be cut. Seniority and area of expertise would also be considered, he said.

"Obviously, we don't want to do that," Board President Barbara Bryan said.

Any teacher who receives a RIF letter would have the opportunity to attend the board meeting where his or her termination would be finalized, as well as to schedule a hearing on his or her dismissal.

Green said if teachers were going to be cut, it would likely be on the board's April agenda.

"I hate doing business this way, but we don't have any other choice," he said. "We have to think about dollars, but we know there are people behind those dollars. These are not decisions we make lightly."

Green said a reconfiguration committee made up of parents, school personnel and others was still working on ideas for cuts.

"We're not making a lot of progress," he said. "Intellectually, everyone knows we need to make cuts, it's 'just don't cut my area.'"

Several other alternatives for cost cutting -- such as closing corporation buildings and cutting athletic programs -- have been discussed.

"All those other things on the list are going to take time," Board Member Jack Berry said.

Green agreed.

"At this point, we're going to have to dip into the rainy day fund just to operate," he said. "There are just not a lot of places to cut except personnel. It's painful for everyone, I know."

Greencastle Teacher's Association Co-President Nicole Kempf said she hoped the teachers and administrators would be able to keep an open dialogue going.

"We feel there are more creative solutions to budget cutting than cutting people," she said.


Comments
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Sounds like a rainy day...

-- Posted by brian01 on Thu, Feb 11, 2010, at 1:13 AM

I agree with Ms. Kempf.

Creative solution #1: pay cut for "Dr." Green.

Creative solution #2: show the school board and oblivious parents what the school corporation would look like without the appropriate number of teachers. Only 1 teacher per discipline show up for any given week.

Creative solution #3: run the GCSC on a deficit and petition "Mitch" for more cash to keep the schools from closing.

Creative solution #4: general teacher strike across the board. And why not administration, too? "Dr." Green sure would feel lonely, as would the school board.

Creative solution #5: should any contracts be canceled (if any contracts actually EXIST), use teachers' union to sue the school corp. In fact, in the case of any breach of contract, teachers, make use of your legal representation.

What astounds me the most is how silent the public is. Come on, citizens. These are YOUR kids we're talking about. Don't they deserve an education? 45+ per class is not acceptable.

-- Posted by the_bugler on Thu, Feb 11, 2010, at 7:03 AM

Superintendent Robert Green, doesn't our children need education first? And you teach our children howwwwww?

I don't agree with Ms. Kempf.

or to pay cut for "Dr." Green.

Fire Mr. Green ! see how he likes not having a job.

Maybe the people running Greencastle should wake up. OUR CHILDREN ARE THE FUTURE. maybe there isn't many jobs right now but without a GOOD education our children won't have a chance. Get off your high horse and think about the kids..

today some people are so stupid , i nkow lets go on strike hoping to make more money but at the same time their are without a paycheck.

Lets cut back but then ask for bonuses, or refuse to cut back yourself. GREED will not educate our children. Greencastle you are full of it. as the saying goes :so keep up with the Jones, oh by the way they filed Bankruptcy. KIDS FIRST!

-- Posted by Sand mann on Thu, Feb 11, 2010, at 7:39 AM

If cuts are being made to teachers..I think this should be a last resort....what is going to happen when when GCSC pulls completely out of Old National Trail starting in the upcoming school year? Where will the funds come from to finance everyone that will need to be hired to replace ONT? If anyone has answers...please share them.

-- Posted by citizenoftheworld on Thu, Feb 11, 2010, at 7:55 AM

How about cutting the athletic director?

-- Posted by aMAIZEnBLUE on Thu, Feb 11, 2010, at 8:21 AM

What happened to closing the Administratioin Building? Why does an elementary school need an assistant principle? Why do the elementary schools need a guidance counselor and a principle? Why does there need to be a superintendent and an assistant superintendent?

-- Posted by beachbum on Thu, Feb 11, 2010, at 8:32 AM

We need the teachers... Find the cuts elsewhere! How many people do they have working in the superintendant's office? What are they paid? Pay cuts... Do we really need ALL of them? Make it up someplace else... Higher entrance fees to sporting events, raise lunches, no breakfast, raise book rental... Personally, I think ALL of those are already too high but cutting teachers is certainly not your answer when the primary reason for the school IS to teach your children!

-- Posted by bannerstuff on Thu, Feb 11, 2010, at 8:49 AM

I am sad to hear that some teachers may be getting layed off. It is unfortunate. I have to wonder how all of these schools are going broke? We pay more tax dollars in both state and federal than we ever have to fund education. What have these school districts been doing with all of the money? That's right like I commented on a previous article about education in the Banner, state of the art sports facilities,Multiple computers in every single class. Which let me state again you do not need computers to learn Math, Reading, Writing, Social Studies and Science. For too many years school districts have lived beyond their means and it is time to change.

Solution 1: Have one single superintendent over all county schools. That should instantly save money.

Solution 2: Cut back on the money spent for athletics. Sports are important but the education of all students is more important.

Solution 3: Each school district go through their budget line by line and decided what are areas that have to be kept for the school to provide services for students, and those areas of the budget that are not vital to student success cut them out.

These are just initial changes and more would still need to come. Times are tough and everybody is having to cut back, and make changes. Educating our children is the most important job we have but you can't tell me that each school does not have some budget items they can cut or eliminate all together.

-- Posted by Heritage Lake Resident on Thu, Feb 11, 2010, at 8:49 AM

Let's take a page out of several other school districts outside Putnam county. Cut administrators and their pay and benefits first. Consolidate administration positions, have one superintendent for all of Putnam county schools, and one school board with a person from each school district on it. (I don't know, maybe there is just one school board which already consists of one person from each school district?)Also, do we really need two principals and assistant principals for the elementary schools? Is it really true that the members of the school board get insurance? I heard that somewhere. If so, this needs to go.

Cut down on janitorial staff and lunch room staff, cut most, if not all, teacher assistant positions, do we really need a teacher just for study hall that makes $10 an hour? Seems to me that most teachers have a free period in which they could supervise a study hall class. After all, that's the way it used to be done. Cut front office positions, there are how many secretary of this and that in the front offices?

I almost hate to say it, maybe fees for sports and extracurricular activities should be raised as well. If it absolutely comes right down to it, lower the pay for coaching positions, and maybe make middle school coaches a volunteer position? Cutting athletics all together seems pretty ridiculous as it helps kids stay on track and stay out of trouble and teaches them discipline,for the most part.

It seems like to me that (let's call it what it is) firing teachers first is a cop out for big wig administrators to keep their paychecks and jobs. Greencastle schools are already lacking greatly to begin with, let's not take away from our children by getting rid of teaching positions.

I disagree with the comment about getting rid of elementary school counselors. That's the worse idea I've ever heard, young students need counselors, especially with all the disturbing things that go on in some of these student's homes. Counselors are the first line of defense and first advocates for at risk children, get rid of them and where will these at risk children be?

I think the school board needs to hold an open forum to parents and teachers to each come up with better solutions, and a compromise on where cuts need to be made. These are our children and students, why should we let the fate of their educations be left up to a school board decision?

-- Posted by annoyed_citizen on Thu, Feb 11, 2010, at 10:08 AM

As in any corporation, the people who really do the majority of the work are the lowest paid. It would make more sense to eliminate some of the higher paid administrative positions. Most of the administrators sit in meetings all day long and never get anything accomplished anyway, while the teachers are out there actually teaching our children. Seems like an easy solution to me!

-- Posted by nikkilpn on Thu, Feb 11, 2010, at 11:02 AM

I think Dr. Green does an admirable job under difficult circumstances. Cuts should be made on teacher performance. There a a lot of great teachers and then some who could care less.

-- Posted by hardtobelieve on Thu, Feb 11, 2010, at 11:13 AM

I think Dr. Green does a good job during difficult times. I call on him to really care about the kids in the community and take the lead in moving the county towards consolidation. It would save a lot of money and you would not have to close any schools.

-- Posted by justasking on Thu, Feb 11, 2010, at 11:48 AM

annoyed_citizen , you make a some what good point, some teachers need to be let go, not for cutting cost but for other reasons, but hire new ones,

janitorial staff and lunch room staff, cut most, if not all .

anyone wanting to cut if not all of janitorial staff either has no children or completely drunk when making a comment like that.

parents paying more for sports, i don't think that would be a good idea, sports have alot to offer, working together for goal, showing up on time, completing a job no matter how painful. these are good quality in adults they need.

most states don't have this much problems and they don't even pay school book rental, that is a whole disappointing subject.

-- Posted by Sand mann on Thu, Feb 11, 2010, at 12:18 PM

Beachbum...I actually agree with you on this subject! Ha!! Good Question!!!

-- Posted by gcastleparent on Thu, Feb 11, 2010, at 1:03 PM

Of all the possible scenarios presented for saving money, Riffing teachers should have been one of the last options used, not the first. This is a cop out. Cutting administrative positions make the most sense, and would be just as easily put in to place as letting teachers go.

-- Posted by ursula on Thu, Feb 11, 2010, at 1:33 PM

I am sure there are several elderly or at home moms who could help with menial tasks for teacher. Why not ask the kids where cuts could be made and take them serious. They are intelligent enough to know what is good and fun and what is a waste of time. Administration should be cut first after all it is what the people vote for. Where are the parents, like the most of us, we lost control the day our kids entered the system.

-- Posted by juni on Thu, Feb 11, 2010, at 1:50 PM

Cloverdad160: Just playing devil's advocate here; which would you rather have? Your job, or your prep time? I wasn't really talking about elementary schools, but more directed towards the Middle and High School levels. I know GHS has these positions. Every school I've attended, teachers have supervised study halls in their own classrooms and used that time as prep time as well. It worked out beautifully. I went to a school where there were over 1000 in my graduating class. I'm just saying, I'd rather have teachers keep their jobs, than lay off teachers so we can keep a glorified baby sitter of study halls at $10 an hour.

I don't believe elementary schools need study halls. Maybe not even middle schools; but I do believe study hall should be kept at the high school level. Many students have jobs, sports, church activities, and whatever else that put them home at a later time. I think study halls, when used appropriately are important for high school students to stay ahead and on top of homework.

I too believe we could take a page or two from Vigo County!

-- Posted by annoyed_citizen on Thu, Feb 11, 2010, at 1:54 PM

To Sand mann: I don't drink, never have, and I have children. Frankly calling me drunk when making an intelligent argument is offensive, rude, and ignorant.

I also have a father in law who works on the janitorial staff at a big inner city school in Cincinnati, they have 3 people on their entire staff, and have cut down from 12 people just to save the school some money. He says their system runs smoother now than it ever has. I'm sorry, but when it comes down to it, the janitors don't teach my children, the teachers do.

-- Posted by annoyed_citizen on Thu, Feb 11, 2010, at 2:04 PM

Sand Mann: learn to read: "cut most if not all teacher assistant positions" not cut most if not all janitorial positions, simply cut back on the amount that are hired.

-- Posted by annoyed_citizen on Thu, Feb 11, 2010, at 2:09 PM

There are alot of great suggestions and comments. As parents, homeowners and taxpayers I believe we should be the ones to fix these problems. The school corporations work for us. We pay their salaries. The administration pay needs to be cut accrossed the board. The end goal needs to be one superintendent per county. I agree with those who say we only need 1 principal per elementary school. The sad part is we have not done a good enough job keeping our schools accountable for the money they spend and why they spend it. With the amount of money that comes in through federal, state, local and property taxes no school should be going broke.

-- Posted by Heritage Lake Resident on Thu, Feb 11, 2010, at 2:09 PM

beachbum: I could see if we train the principals to take over counselor duties as well, than that could possibly work! Maybe cut down to one principal for all elementary schools, no assistants, and keep at least one counselor on staff at each school? I just fear that if we cut counselors all together, the principals won't step up and fill that void as well.

-- Posted by annoyed_citizen on Thu, Feb 11, 2010, at 2:36 PM

All I'm going to say is COUNTY SCHOOL CONSOLIDATION!!! South Putnam is broke, Greencastle is over budget so we are laying off teachers but not cutting back on the athletics???? Cloverdale and North Putnam could use assistance as well.

Eliminate 3 Superintendents Jobs = BIG SAVINGS for all school corporations.

-- Posted by smartmom on Thu, Feb 11, 2010, at 4:35 PM

To all those ahead of me that have responded: I found one very critical element missing in each of your responses.

There was not even one single mention of : God,

our Heavenly Father, Lord, Jesus Christ , Abba or prayer.

Imediately the question in my mind, are there any

Christians on the school board? Surely, there are

at least a few. If so, then why are they not praying for guidance and direction in these matters. Prayer is a powerful weapon against adversites. Your help from HIM is just a prayer away. And....HE hears us best when we go to HIM

on our knees!

-- Posted by mothersue on Thu, Feb 11, 2010, at 5:09 PM

I agree we don't need assistant Supers and one super for all the county sounds great. If they cut teachers I would hope to God that they cut some of these teachers that have been in there for years, because they lost the passion of teaching a long time ago, more so at the High School. I like the new and younger teachers cause they still have passion of wanting the kids to learn. Why are there teaching assistants? I know most of them do what the teacher should be doing and at bad bad pay at that. TA"S do not get treated right and it's just kind letting some of these older teachers get away with do NOTHING! I know some teachers who NEVER leave the chair they sit it nor teach nor grade the papers. Can you say LAZY! Get rid of the baggage retire so of these freeloaders keep the young one's.

-- Posted by savethekids on Thu, Feb 11, 2010, at 6:04 PM

Stop giving our economy to Haiti, i have seen more people donate money to Haiti then any other needing organization. I seen people put 20 dollar bills into the Haiti donation cups, but yet we have little children dieing everyday from cancer and etc. those same people that donate money to Haiti would not put a penny in the other needing organization donation cups. I have to see this everyday and it makes me sick. I do understand that the people of Haiti are in need but so are we. Then we have our kids not going to get the education they NEED. Come on people after all this Haiti stuff is done they are going to have a better economy then we do. We need to be helping our own economy not others.

-- Posted by nefarious on Thu, Feb 11, 2010, at 6:50 PM

Am I the only one that finds it ironic that certain responses to an article about the future education of our children are riddled with improper verb usage and punctuation errors?

-- Posted by sickand tired on Thu, Feb 11, 2010, at 7:42 PM

I guess that is the exact reason why we should not cut the teachers in our schools. Thanks sickand tired (notice the punctuation error in sickand tired) for pointing that out.

-- Posted by nefarious on Thu, Feb 11, 2010, at 8:01 PM

They all are local Grads! Just listen to the music, pro sports players and coaches?

-- Posted by macvrod on Thu, Feb 11, 2010, at 8:02 PM

Cutting teachers is the worse thing they can do. I agree with cutting assistant principals at the elementary level, but not the teacher assistants. We have a wonderful teacher and she teaches, her assistant does the other stuff that needs to be done. I think we need to close the administration building or close one of the other buildings. We also need to cut the administration. Too many people doing jobs that are not as important as teaching our children. These kids are, our future.

-- Posted by ladycubs on Thu, Feb 11, 2010, at 10:00 PM

I am a teacher in Indianapolis. I teach at an alternative school. I prepare my own lessons, teach my classes and grade all my papers by myself. I have no teachers assistant. I am not trying to take away the job a teacher's assistant does, however if it means saving the jobs of teachers by cutting teaching assistants then to me there is no argument. Cut adminstration positions first, then the TA's and so on. Just a crazy idea but what if the schools went to a half a day on Friday's. Closing down all schools for half a day one day a week may save a ton of money. Help cut electricity cost, heating cost etc... Just a thought.

-- Posted by Heritage Lake Resident on Thu, Feb 11, 2010, at 11:11 PM

My wife is one of the IA's that took a 15% pay cut. Not only does she assist the teacher, but is expected to actually teach the class when the teacher is out for a conference, prep time, etc. She has even had to teach the class for an entire day when a substitute could not be found. She has not quit her job as she loves being in the classroom, helping to make a positive difference in the lives of the students she encounters daily. Superintendent Green needs to lead by example. His pay, as well as the pay of all administrators should be the first to be cut. His and the school board's "I've got mine, sorry about yours" attitude twoard IA's was the easiest way to show the taxpayers they are taking a proactive position regarding the budget. Even his math is wrong. 1 hour/day @ $10 X 180 school days = $1800.00 per aide per year. $1800 X 25 aides = $45,000.00. Do these community leaders really think that we taxpayers are so stupid we'll believe everything they tell us? Do the board members get paid for serving in an appointed role? Do they receive discounted insurance or benefits that could be cut? These questions need to be answered and published in some publication other than the annual budget.

-- Posted by Vernie1 on Thu, Feb 11, 2010, at 11:25 PM

So many of you have voiced your opinion here. Have you thought about going to the PUBLIC School BOARD MEETINGS and voicing your opinions there. Come on PARENTS WE can change this. Vote NO on prperty tax caps. Come to the meetings and tell them what you think and see what is really said. Don't always rely on what you read or hear

-- Posted by dad_of_three on Fri, Feb 12, 2010, at 7:51 AM

Dad of three, I agree with much of what you stated except for the part about voting NO on property tax caps. I would like to know why you are against the caps? Do you own property? Is it only the responsability for those who own land and pay property taxes to fund the schools? Not being smart just asking some questions. I do agree though that parents do need to get involved.

-- Posted by Heritage Lake Resident on Fri, Feb 12, 2010, at 8:47 AM

IF Gov.Mitch wants to help the state the how about he takes a pay cut along with all the senators, legislators, and etc. Like Gov. Mitch said the average Hoosier makes $39,000; why don't they try living on that? "Practice What You Are Preaching Mitch!!!!!!"Then cut out the spot bonuses of over $600,000 that were paid out last year. Then we wouldn't have to cut our school budgets.

We need to trimming the fat in the Putnam county school corporation adminstration; as all as it doesn't have a bad affect on how the schools are run.

-- Posted by WitchBitch on Fri, Feb 12, 2010, at 1:10 PM

Why doesn't the school board post on their website what the agenda is, or even better yet, keep the minutes of the meeting up to date? We are all sure that the board will "surprisingly" find the extra money. With coaches, if you are going to let them go, do so right after their season instead of MONTHS later...and those on the board with a student on the team should perhaps excuse themselves from the issue-conflict of interest...the same way a judge does. Good luck teachers! Please know there are many people behind your efforts.

-- Posted by hereitis on Sun, Feb 14, 2010, at 9:51 AM

Just because one does not have children in school should not be a reason for being for or against property tax caps. I pay into medicare and social security and there is no guarantee that I will receive either. We all benefit from better schools. We have had opportunities to assist with public education, beyond property taxes, before. It was made very clear that the people of Indiana would prefer to pay less for the plates on their cars than have lottery money go to public schools. You can't complain about schools if you are not willing to do your part. You also can't get blood from a turnip.

-- Posted by sickand tired on Sun, Feb 14, 2010, at 7:50 PM

the bugler: Just a question, if you are against teachers being cut because it will hinder the education our children will receive, then what purpose would a teacher strike serve? I agree that there are other places they should look before teachers are cut, but a strike would only hurt the children's education even more. And please don't be so quick to judge the salaries of school administrators. I do not know what they are piad in Greencastle schools, but I also don't know what it is like to sit at their desk and do their job. They put in many hours and deal with things on a day to day basis that the general community knows little to nothing about. I do agree that Dr. Green should be willing to take the same pay cuts that he imposes on anyone else, but our principals do a fantastic job and take care of our kids like their own.

-- Posted by farmers wife on Sun, Feb 14, 2010, at 9:21 PM

South Putnam ran into these issues a few years back. Anyone remember that? The State nearly came in and took over our schools! We surely didn't want that so we had to cut jobs, deeply. Currently, we run with ONE Supernatant, and for a few years, one principal for two elementary schools and no vice-principals, expect for the high school. Budget cuts are hard and they hurt, but the key is to go to the school board meetings and offer your option as to what should be cut or not. Be reasonable in what you ask to keep and reasonable in what you think can be cut. If you ask for the Supernatants' head on a platter you may as well just stay home because you opinions will be dismissed. The school board has to make cuts, if you don't have money to pay your bills, services will be cut off! You can't have school without any power or heat, and you can't have power or heat without MONEY. Help the school board make cuts and balance the budget. Then figure out what other smaller cuts can be made to help rebuild and sustain those programs that help support the educational process. Good luck!

-- Posted by Hairy Tiger on Mon, Feb 15, 2010, at 10:23 AM

People need to know that the teacher assistants that some are saying need cut, are NOT just there to grade papers and make teachers life easier. They are there to help the kids! Certain kids who have learning problems must have these aids in the room to assist them...they are there FOR THE KIDS! This is why they are there in the MS & HS, in fact this I believe is part of a Federal Law for children....you'd be amazed how many students they are there to help and how little recognition they receive for the work they do....for very little money.

-- Posted by hereitis on Mon, Feb 15, 2010, at 12:30 PM

hereitis, Thank you for finally informing the general public that teacher's assistants or aides are there to help the kids that need the extra help. I have subbed in the Greencastle school system and the aides are kept extremely busy and work sometimes one on one or with small groups of kids that need extra help. They also go into the classroom and aid the kids that are in need of their help without taking them away from their regular classroom setting and their teacher. The teacher can teach the whole class more effectively when the aide is in there to help the kids that need it. That in turn, benefits all the children in the class as well. They have already cut aides once in the last year or two and the ones that are still there are having a very difficult time meeting the needs of so many children. Some aides go with individual students to their classes to aid them in many ways. Those students would not be able to be in classes otherwise. It is a federal law that the students be there and that they be given they help they need to succeed.

As far as the teacher giving up their planning periods, I don't think there are many professions that are so demanding of an individual's time away from their place of employment. A good teacher puts in much time preparing and grading papers outside of the time of their paid school day.

-- Posted by not a native on Sun, Feb 21, 2010, at 2:14 PM


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