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Five teachers to lose jobs

Alissa Widman Neese • Apr 16, 2014 at 10:30 AM

A slew of reductions at Huron Schools will leave five teachers jobless by the end of the school year.

Board members approved the cuts at their meeting Tuesday, positioning the district to save about $680,000 a year.

A dozen academic leader contracts — a stipend employees receive for overseeing a department — will be knifed, as will 20 supplemental contracts given to teachers in various coaching and advisory positions. One full-time teacher’s job will be reduced to a part-time position.

Additionally, the district will impose a salary freeze for all administrators in the upcoming school year.

“It will be painful, and it will change the way we do things, but we will still have our key programming in place,” superintendent Dennis Muratori said at Tuesday’s meeting.

Board members cited financial concerns, as well as declining student enrollment, as the reason for targeting the listed programs and teachers.

Officials alluded to the reductions for the past several months.

In January, they first started chipping away at the list by eliminating one high school teacher, as well as the communitybased instruction program the individual oversaw.

Without the reductions, Huron Schools would have likely depleted all its reserve cash by the 2015-16 school year through deficit spending, according to its five-year financial forecast.

Deficit spending will still continue, but at a lesser rate.    

The district will now end the 2015-16 school year with a small cash balance. Its entire annual operating budget is about $14.6 million.

“We want to be fiscally responsible with our tax dollars,” Muratori said. “This will delay the need to ask our community stakeholders for new operating money another year”

The earliest the district is expected to propose a new tax levy is now 2015, rather than this November, he said.

Nonetheless, several Huron High School students at Tuesday’s meeting took a stance against the proposed reductions.

Junior Alex Winschel, a spokesman for the group, read a prepared statement to board members.

He specifically highlighted the negative impacts of severing supplemental contracts used to support the high school French and Spanish clubs, as well as cutting the high school’s assistant band director.

“It is perfectly reasonable for the board to make budget cuts,” Winschel said. “The part that we find alarming is the area where these budget cuts are being made”

About 40 people attended the meeting, with others speaking out about the negative effects of reduced staffing on student performance.

Board member Tim Sowecke suggested the district recruit unpaid volunteers to assist with the aforementioned programs, similar to volunteer coaches for sports. Muratori noted all programming will continue, despite the staffing reductions.

“We will not be eliminating our foreign language or music programs” Muratori said. “But we will need to adjust the way we provide them”

For a detailed list of reductions, click on the pdf below

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