Bethel-Tate school board approves staffing cuts

December 26th, 2008    Author: Marsha Mundy    Filed Under: News

After an executive session of the Bethel-Tate School Board on Tuesday, Dec. 16, the board approved a 2009-2010 staffing plan which includes a reduction of 10 certified, four classified and two administrator positions. Certified positions include teachers, classified positions include aides, custodians, bus drivers and secretaries.

“The elimination of these positions will save the district in excess of $600,000,” said Superintendent James Smith. “The action is effective as of June 2, 2009 with the exception of one of the classified positions. Over the next several months, the district will continue to seek additional cost savings with the hope of saving some of the positions. Additional cost savings would lead to a revision of the staffing plan. In the meantime, we will work with our teacher and support staff unions to determine who might be impacted by the layoffs with notification of individuals taking place sometime afterwards.”

"The district regrets having to take this action," said Smith. "We have a wonderful staff that cares greatly about the children of this community. They have worked very hard along with our students and parents to make Bethel-Tate Schools one of the best academic districts in the greater Cincinnati area. We simply don't have any choice given the state's unwillingness to properly fund schools and the failure of the income tax issue in November.

Before the executive session, the school board heard comments from parent Shelly Sander regarding the school hours which are scheduled to change in March 2009. She asked the board to reconsider the changes because it will create a hardship for many parents, in particular she mentioned a friend who has four children enrolled in the primary school through the high school. With buses eliminated from the high school, she will have to get all four children up early to take one child to the high school, the younger children will not have to be at school until 9 a.m. and she claims that the children will be tired before their school day begins.

She also expressed concern that if the district sells the unused buses they will not get a good price for them.

Sander questioned a board meeting from Sept. 11 where the budget had been reduced by $776,000 and wondered if the money reduced in Sept. was part of the $1 million cut.

Board president Ed Dyer responded to her questions by saying that the board did not have all the answers yet about the school hours. According to Dyer, the board is going to take another look at the changes and are waiting for the transportation director to work out the logistics for the routes and give them her findings.

The unused buses are not for sale at this time, according to Dyer. They will keep the buses until they get a chance to see how the new school hours are working out.

Superintendent Smith noted that some changes were made to bus routes because one bus driver retired and the district consolidated routes to eliminate that position.

A total of $1.7 million needed to be cut from the budget and the $776,000 cut in September 2008 is part of that total. With changing bus routes and school hours, an additional $300,000 will be cut and with the personnel cuts totaling more than $600,000, the board is close to making the budget for next year.
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