School board eyes seven teacher, staff cuts in preliminary budget

— Board member Jan Woodworth, a member of the board’s personnel committee, said the committee’s recommendations for the potential personnel cuts include one mechanic, two cleaners, one first grade position, one third grade position, one family consumer science position in the high school and possibly one kindergarten position.

The anticipated elementary position cuts are all based on projected reductions in enrollment that will cause the elimination of one section in each of the grades, Dubik said. He said the first grade class size is expected to drop from 102 students this year to 89 students next year; while third grade is expected to drop from 105 students this year to 94 next year. Eliminating sections does not necessarily mean teachers in those specific grades will be released, but rather the reduction in teaching staff will be done by seniority, Dubik said.

All the recommended personnel cuts, except the kindergarten possibility, are included in the preliminary budget numbers, Furlong said.

“This is a living document; it continues to move on almost a daily basis,” Furlong said. “If we don’t get the $450,000 we anticipate [from the state legislature] we’ll have to change our estimates and maybe cut more.”

In response to a question from Member Lisa Lounsbury, board President Pat Vogl said the board is currently not planning to seek higher tax revenue to fill the budget gap by asking residents to approve a tax levy that exceeds the state-mandated tax cap. To exceed the cap, a district budget must receive a majority of more than 60 percent of voters; failure to achieve that 60 percent would force a re-vote. Districts that fail to win voter approval for their proposed budgets after two tries must freeze their property tax levies.

Also at the meeting, the board:

—Scheduled a budget work session for 6:30 p.m. Monday, April 7, in the district meeting room.

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