GCSC looking at budget cuts

Thursday, February 12, 2009

While reviewing the month's financial report at Wednesday's meeting, Supt. Robert Green told the Greencastle School Board he has been working with the principals in trying to cut expenses throughout the corporation.

The corporation currently needs to cut about $800,000 in spending for the 2009-10 school year.

"The principals and I have been looking at what we can do without touching the classroom instruction," Green said. "Cutting $800,000 from a budget our size is quite a chore."

They have already made cuts to their remediation program as well as cutting out spending on all professional travel, including that of the superintendent.

Other possible areas of budget cuts could include coaching, instructional assistants, the number of students attending Area 30, the music program, custodians and cutting all summer help. The corporation will also be running on a four-day workweek during the summer to save on utilities.

"We're trying to cut everywhere we can, short of the classroom," Green said.

Unfortunately, the cuts may also have to include reductions in the number of teachers. This issue remains up in the air, though, pending the funding received from the stimulus package and based on the number of teacher retirements at year's end.

"I hope by the March meeting we have an idea of what the federal government is going to send us. I'm also hoping to know about retirees before we have to send out RIF (reduction in force) notices to teachers," Green said.

"I'm hoping that between what we get from the federal government and possible retirements, we won't have to do that," Green said. "I don't want to put any teachers through that because it's very traumatic, very stressful."

Green said he will speak to the board in more depth on the issue at the March meeting.

The board also approved a pair of curriculum changes at Wednesday's meeting.

The school system will now have a standard grading scale for grades three through 12 as well as a new class in the graduation requirements at the high school

Greencastle Middle School Principal Shawn Gobert and Tzouanakis Principal Dan TeGrotenhuis were present requesting that the grading scales at their school be changed to match those of Greencastle High School.

The breaks between letter grades at the high school currently fall at 60, 70, 80 and 90 percent, while the breaks are higher at the other two schools.

"Eighty percent of our staff is in favor of it, and almost right down the line, our parents feel the same," Gobert said.

The entire district used to be on the higher grading scale, but the high school changed a number of years ago because of the disadvantage at which it could place GHS students when applying for college.

Favoring the standardized rules across the corporation, the board approved the measure 5-0.

The board also approved a change to the high school curriculum. GHS Guidance Director Vicky Williams was on hand to request a change to the high school graduation curriculum. Currently, one technology credit is needed to fulfill graduation requirements. However, students use computers throughout their school experience, so Williams thought a different requirement might be in order.

Instead, beginning with the class of 2013 (next year's freshmen), students will be required to take a career exploration class at some point in their freshman or sophomore years.

The idea is to get students thinking about what sorts of career fields they would like to look at before their junior years when they have opportunities like Area 30, DePauw Alpha courses and AP courses.

Williams said she wants to see the kids looking into career options and then working on skills such as resume building and simply researching their fields of interest.

"I don't what kids picking a career because of the dollars to it. I want them to find what they truly enjoy," she said.

While computer applications classes will not be removed from the curriculum, they will no longer be required for graduation. Asked if this would be a problem with the students' technology skills, Williams pointed out that they would still have the computer in front of them in many classes, including science and language courses.

"We are not saying that computer applications isn't important at all. We're just trying to look at the best utilization of resources," Williams said.

The Greencastle School Board meets regularly at 7:30 p.m. the second Wednesday of every month at the Miller Education Center.

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  • I didn't see anything mentioned about getting rid of the car that sits at the Administrative Office that is used for out of town meetings, etc.

    -- Posted by beachbum on Thu, Feb 12, 2009, at 6:52 AM
  • What is a career exploration class? Stick with the computer class, or hey, throw in another English class, I am sure that would help several students.

    -- Posted by idiot on Thu, Feb 12, 2009, at 7:02 AM
  • How about cutting the fluff from the athletic department, like the paid hotel rooms for the wrestling team? If the students want to participate in out of town meets that require a mulit-night stay, they should pay for it themselves. The parents brag about this 'perk' while the schools turn out most of their lights to save a few $. It's ridiculous.

    -- Posted by kassidy321 on Thu, Feb 12, 2009, at 7:21 AM
  • Well put smaller_gov_now!

    -- Posted by steelnovice on Thu, Feb 12, 2009, at 8:17 PM
  • Hey Cloverdaale160, take it easy there. "THRONGS", wow I want to take what you are taking. I like wrestling, I wrestled, but unfortunately THERE IS NOT 1 SPORT in that school that supports itself from gate revenue. If you think there is you are sadly mistaken and incredibly clueless. Feel free to contact any AD in the county to verify.

    By the way, I do agree with small gov on the money management class, good idea.

    -- Posted by idiot on Fri, Feb 13, 2009, at 6:14 AM
  • Cutting the music program would be very very WRONG! Why is it that music seems to be the first thing on the list to go? Nobody seems to have the guts to say lets cut some spotrs,heaven help us if we do this. Someone on the school board needs to stand up and defend the fine arts as well as you parents!!

    -- Posted by Blue6 on Sun, Feb 15, 2009, at 8:13 AM
  • Cutting sports is NOT the answer. Kids learn valuable life lessons while participating in sports...the playing field in sports is an extension of the classroom. I do NOT think music should be cut either. That is also valuable for many students.

    How about going to a 4 day school week - Tuesday-Friday...close the school buildings on sunday...no one allowed to be there...everything shutdown...If teachers want to work on the weekend they have to work on Saturday...Keep things shutdown until Monday afternoon...allowing it to be reopened for events that evening???

    Instead of rushing into rash decisions about cutting things, let's use a common sense approach.

    -- Posted by hoopdreams on Tue, Feb 17, 2009, at 1:07 PM
  • Well said small gov.

    Perhaps they could do a better job with civics too.

    Then maybe the next election cycle they will understand that the President doesn't write legislation and the ancillary benefit of having they pay better attention to Congress and who they send. Or what the Constitution actually says the govt. is supposed to do and what it is forbidden from doing.

    It would certainly be refreshing if they didn't have to rely on John Stewart, Matt Damon or Sean Penn to tell them what's what in the venue of politics and government.

    -- Posted by Catie's Dad on Thu, Feb 19, 2009, at 10:19 AM
  • Alright, let me lay this out plain and simple for all of you. There are 2 types of schools right now--Ones in serious financial trouble, and ones who are in denial about it. The State of Indiana does not even know themselves the funding formula that determines how much $ schools will get for next year. When you have to cut $800,000 out of a budget...EVERYTHING is an option. We're all passionate about sports, music, etc... If 80-90% of our school's budget is going towards salary, PEOPLE are going to get cut. It's just how it is. Your school board and superintendant are the messengers of bad news sent straight down from your all mighty governor, Mitch Daniels--NOT anyone's man if you care about education. It all goes back to property taxes and school's cannot function on only 1% of that money during a recession. So, there's the real story from someone who gets it.

    -- Posted by Busy Mom on Thu, Feb 19, 2009, at 9:49 PM
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