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GCSC may avoid teacher cuts

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Robert Green
GREENCASTLE -- Necessary budget cuts in the Greencastle Community School Corp. may not lead to cuts in the teaching force.

Superintendent Robert Green told the Greencastle Community School Corp. Board of Trustees Wednesday night that he had come up with several ideas to make up for the corporation's $471,000 budget shortfall caused by a state cut in the district's 2010 tuition support funding allocation.

"To say these forced budget cuts have been stressful would be a gross understatement," Green said. "I know it's been hard not only on me, but on the employees and on members of the community."

Green said a committee made up of about 40 teachers and parents had worked hard to come up with ways to cut the corporation's already tight budget.

"They had a lot of good ideas," Green said. "Some were practical, some were not practical."

Green noted there were many things that have to be taken into consideration when dealing with school budgets.

"There are teacher contracts and school laws and regulations," he said.

Before Green told the board what cuts he suggested, he announced that he was "hopeful when all is said and done that we won't have to lay off anybody."

"I can't guarantee that, but I'm hopeful," he said.

Green said the only suggestion on his list that required board action was to close Miller School. The building currently houses the district's administrative offices.

A resident who lives next to Miller School expressed concern that it would not be well-maintained if it were vacant, and that it might end up attracting vandals or vagrants.

Green assured her that the grass would be maintained and the building's doors and windows would be secured.

Green said the people who now work in the Miller building would be moved to other schools in the district. He said tentative transition plans were already in place, and that he was meeting with staff at Ridpath Elementary Thursday to discuss them.

"There will be no closings or changes at Ridpath," Green said.

The board voted unanimously to close the school this summer. The closure will save the corporation $100,000 a year.

Other changes that will take place include:

* A teacher at Greencastle Middle School is retiring, and the position will not be filled.

* The school will no longer have a newsletter published on paper. Instead, it will be available online.

* A full-time custodian is retiring, and when the position is filled again it will become part-time.

* Staff development funding will be cut by $2,500.

* A secretarial position in the high school will be cut.

* All employees will be required to have their wages direct deposited into bank accounts.

* Funding for Northwest Educational Testing will now be taken from the technology fund rather than the general fund.

* Schools will continue energy savings measures. In addition, any events that can be held in venues smaller than the McAnally Center will be.

"McAnally Center is a huge energy hog," Green said.

* Adjustments will likely be made in the corporation's employees' insurance.

"These are some good measures," Green said. "We probably won't cut the whole amount we need to this year, so we'll have to use money from the rainy day fund and the cash balance from the general fund. But we're not done yet. We're going to continue working on this."

Although the budget cutting process has been difficult, Green said that particular cloud had turned out to have something of a silver lining.

"I've come to realize that we have a lot of people who care about their schools and care about the education of our children," he said.

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More support cuts. Not good,they support the system in many ways

-- Posted by BIG DOG DADDY on Thu, Mar 11, 2010, at 7:04 AM

You cannot have it both ways. Cuts must be made somewhere. We can't spend more money we don't have, we are not the Federal Government. Good start Dr. Green.

-- Posted by hardtobelieve on Thu, Mar 11, 2010, at 8:18 AM

Very good start. Something has to be cut and they really do need to keep the teachers, if at all possible. Impressed.

-- Posted by bannerstuff on Thu, Mar 11, 2010, at 8:56 AM

One main point of the school board meeting is left out of this article. The board voted in favor of a new proposal concerning the amount of time teachers are given for professional development. With this new proposal, beginning next year, every Monday school will begin 35 minutes later than normal so that teachers may use this time to meet together. The rationale for having school begin later rather than the teachers remaining after school for 35 minutes was NOT well thought out and the number of people affected by having school 35 minutes earlier rather than having teachers stay an additional 35 minutes is huge. Also 5 minutes of teaching time will be cut off of each course that your student takes reducing the amount of time they are taught each week by 2.7%. I am all for teachers needing this time and I strongly support the reasoning of how much this betters our teachers but I do not support the one day a week different starting time for students.

-- Posted by greencastleparent on Thu, Mar 11, 2010, at 8:57 AM

Sounds like "thelady" was at the school board meeting but must have been asleep during the lengthy explanation of the rationales for starting school late on Mondays. The assistant to the superintendent and other administrators and teachers gave a complete and very well thought out rationale for their recommendation. The school board can barely pay the teachers as it is and it would be too expensive to pay for an extra 35 min. each week. Greencastle students already attend school longer than the state requires, so even with this change, the students will be in class more than is required. The plan will also save the school thousands of dollars in substitute teacher payments and will keep teachers where they want to be: in class teaching their students, not away at a conference.

-- Posted by sneakers on Thu, Mar 11, 2010, at 7:55 PM

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