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Sports spared in budget cuts

Special ed co-op will end year in the black

Staff writer

USD 410 Board of Education spared high school and middle school sports Monday as it approved $279,100 of budget cuts for 2010-11.

The board previously included middle school wrestling and high school golf, tennis, baseball, and softball among items to consider cutting; but those sports were not among the budget reductions.

Only one full-time job — a food service position — was cut without a retirement involved.

Administrators did a good job finding ways to affect students as little as possible with the cuts, board president Eddie Weber said.

Approved cuts include eliminating:

  • One maintenance position $20,900
  • One half counselor position $16,800
  • One food service position $13,100
  • Strength and conditioning supplemental contract $6,000
  • Zero-hour German class $5,600
  • Funding for out-of-state trips $5,000
  • SOCS webhosting $3,100
  • In-town after-school bus route $2,200
  • Fiber optic lease $900

Other savings include reducing:

  • Instructional materials $51,200
  • Professional development $15,700
  • Administrative costs $12,000
  • Overtime $11,500
  • Technology support $11,300
  • Cost of preschool through additional Head Start funding $5,000
  • Workers’ comp insurance $4,300
  • Parents as Teachers $3,000
  • Vocational equipment $2,600
  • Contracted services $2,400
  • Busing for athletics $1,500

Other cost-saving measures include using volunteers to work athletics, $8,400; moving to one musical or drama per year instead of both, $3,100; replacing the printed publication of “Oracle” with an online version, $3,000; increasing facility use fees, $1,500; and utilizing community service projects for gym cleaning, $500.

The district will examine the possibility of making direct deposit of paychecks mandatory, business manager Jerry Hinerman said. The change could save time and supplies.

Instrumental music teacher Gregg Walker resigned. In a Tuesday e-mail, Superintendent Steve Noble said the music department will be cut by seven-tenths of a position, following the resignation, to be restored when funding improves.

The cut should not reduce group offerings to students, but will reduce individual music lessons provided during the day.

In other business:

  • Middle school math teacher Stephanie Sinclair and some of her students gave a presentation about a class project where they studied how a bridge’s length and thickness affect its strength. The project’s purpose was to teach students how to find patterns in data.
  • The board approved spending $29,294 for elementary school math curriculum, which includes textbooks and consumables.
  • Assistant high school track coach Donald Penner resigned after 43 years because of health reasons, effective immediately. A contract for Grant Overstake to replace Penner was approved.
  • The district will purchase 38 Lenovo Thinkpad laptop computers for $901 each to replace teacher computers at the elementary and middle schools.
  • Marion County Special Education Cooperative’s financial outlook is improving, district representative Deb Geis said.
  • The board met in closed session for 81 minutes to discuss personnel matters. No action was taken on return to open session.

Special ed co-op update

It was a complete turnaround Thursday night when Marion County Special Education Cooperative board members were told that the special education cooperative was actually in the black and should end the fiscal year in June with a carry-over of funds.

It was quite a change from a couple of months ago when the cooperative director and board members were desperately searching for ways to maintain staff and serve students — even considering selling the cooperative building — anticipating a huge deficit at the end of the school year.

What was the difference?

In the end, hard work and financial expertise resulted in a rabbit of sorts being pulled out of the proverbial hat, and the cooperative should end the year with nearly $330,000 remaining in its $4 million budget.

And next year looks promising as well with the board projecting an estimated $222,000 surplus when the school year ends.

Last modified April 14, 2010

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