I will be reviewing the following information with the school board in Tuesday's meeting. The agenda can be found at the corporation website. (See link on the left side of this page.)
What are the fiscal challenges that Indiana public schools are facing?
Dealing with constant unfunded mandates
No Child Left Behind (NCLB) - federal law requiring changes in school accountability
Public Law 221 - state law requiring changes in school accountability
Core 40 - requiring high school curriculum changes
Rising ISTEP cut scores -more remediation, focus on standards
Recent increase in high school graduation requirements
Cost shifts from state and federal to local taxpayer
Teacher' Retirement Fund payments shifted from state to local
FICA costs shifted from state to local
Federal mandates for disabled (promised 40% funding -it is now up to 18%)
Payment delays from the state -requires schools to borrow millions to be able to pay bills
Increased health care costs
Rising utility rates
Increases in liability insurance
What has been done in the past to control costs?
Certified teaching reductions by attrition
Reduction-in-Force (RIF) two years ago
One secretarial position WMS
Hot Lunch Director Position
One-half secretarial position CO
Cost of one-half bookkeeper CO
Reduced Transportation Secretary from year-round to school year and absorbed summer responsibilities in CO
What are we doing currently to control increasing costs?
Climate control and energy savings
Close high school pool
Staff development cost shifts
Gifted and Talented Program para
Pay for special ed. prof. dev. from fed. funds
Reimbursement to General Fund for special education copy costs
Eliminate non-profit donations
Are you looking at extra-curricular positions?
We have left numerous extra-curricular positions unfilled in the last several years, most of them smaller stipends for clubs and activities without high demand, and some assistant coaching positions.
We plan on leaving some additional extra-curricular positions unfilled for next year.
What about administrative costs?
Unlike many school districts, Wawasee does not have mid-level administrative positions, funded by the General Fund, that can be eliminated or combined. However, I will be recommending a freeze on all administrative wages.
What personnel cuts are being recommended to control costs?
WHS 1 Math, 1 Science, 1 English
WMS 1 Aquatics, 1 Eighth Grade
NW 1 First Grade
ELEM 1 PE teacher (5 minutes per class reduction)
Who is most affected by these proposed changes?
There are four individuals who have been notified that there is a possibility of a lay-off. This could affect two high school teachers and two PE teachers. We are hopeful that this will not be necessary. However, to meet the deadlines in state law we must notify people that could be affected.
Programs for children should not be negatively affected in a major way by these recommendations. Most of these cuts are due to retirements, student enrollment patterns and shifts in personnel. HOWEVER, if implemented, these changes will take our current program to the leanest levels in some time, including a slight increase in some class sizes.
But, it does leave our fine arts programs unaffected and our academic and athletic programs lean but intact. From this point forward, any further reductions in future years, forced on us by this state legislature, WILL result in reductions and/or elimination of actual programs. I make these recommendations because I believe that our community is generally supportive of our current programs and does not wish to see an entire program eliminated. These recommendations are designed to maintain our current programming. If the state does not correct current state budget formula inequities, this may not be possible in future years.
It will not be necessary for the board to vote on these recommendations Tuesday evening. There is still time for staffing changes due to job changes, relocation, and retirements. We are hopeful that we will still be able to keep individuals who have received a preliminary notice.
I would like to thank the staff and community for their patience and support.
If you have never written or e-mailed your legislator before, there will never be a better time.
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