The Half Hollow Hills Board of Education detailed its proposed reductions for the 2012-13 school year during a meeting Monday night at . The presentation came about after residents requested specifics on where the planned would come from.
The board plans to cut
The largest projected savings will come from reductions in the elementary teaching staff. The board said that a decline of approximately 370 students across all seven elementary schools over the past three years is necessitating the excessing of 14 teachers. The result is a savings of $1,645,000 in salaries. The board is also planning to excess four sixth grade teachers due to lower enrollment, which would result in a savings of $475,000. The decision on which teachers will be , the board said.
Other teaching cuts include those in the art, music, physical education, language and health areas. The board said that a reduction in faculty would be expected since there would be too few students to support a full time staff. Those cuts come to a total of $680,000.
A dean position at , three reading specialists and a special education literacy specialist will also be cut. In addition, the district will no longer have curriculum liaisons. Those salary and stipend cuts are expected to save the district $1,144,000.
Other staff cuts include a psychologist and job coach, a central office managerial position, 10 hallway monitors, 10 paraprofessionals, one custodian and two clerical positions. The district also intends to reduce the use of substitute teachers.
The board also agreed to . The estimated savings amounts to $1,260,000 between the 2012-13 and 2013-14 school years. Included in the agreement is a stipulation that .
With enrollment down and 14 projected teacher cuts, resident Jill Kaufman questioned the board’s agreement to not reduce any administrators on the elementary level.
“It’s puzzling why we still need to have a second administrator in the buildings,” she said, referring to the assistant principal position.
Superintendent Kelly Fallon defended the board’s decision saying that the administrative roles ensure that the instructional program stays at its current level and that new common core standards are being met.
“We need the community to understand that these are well though out reductions that have taken weeks and weeks…We’re working really hard to strike a balance,” she said.
Another proposed cut is to extracurricular activity clubs across the elementary, middle and high school levels. The savings amounts to $420,000. The cut represents a 35 percent reduction to the amount funded for after school activities. John O'Farrell, assistant superintendent for secondary education, said that the decision of which clubs to cut would be based upon enrollment and demand. The board said that the remaining funding would still provide for academic, competitive and high-enrollment clubs to run, as well as those considered critical by the District.
The board also plans to cut the combined middle school musical to save $25,000. However, there will still be two musical performances at and .
The athletic budget is being trimmed by $120,000 with reductions to team supplies, uniforms and non-essential reconditioning. There is also the potential for cuts to the number of assistant coaches and trainers, the board said.
Another savings will come from a mandate that all students must have a lunch period. The requirement will result in a reduction in the number of sections for various electives within the family and consumer science and business departments, as well as an estimated 2.5 positions. This would limit the amount of extra classes, such as Advanced Placement and special electives students would be able to take within the nine-period day. Seniors can be exempt from having to take mandatory lunch only if the student needs the extra course to meet graduation requirements.
Previously, parents could give permission for their child to take an additional class instead of a lunch period.
“I would ask the board to look for other places to cut that would not affect a student’s choice to take another class. Mandating lunch is taking away educational opportunities for children,” Kaufman said.
Other cuts include the purchasing of new textbooks, Safety Sally, professional development, building and grounds supplies, overtime pay, modifications to public relations contracts and a printed district calendar.
The superintendent said that the board worked very hard to come up with a responsible budget that would least effect the educational experience of the school district.
“It’s not going to be perfect, but we will tell you that students will not have a dramatic change to their program,” Fallon said.