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Education

Northwood schools approve budget cuts

Northwood-Board

Northwood Board of Education President Denise Niese and Superintendent Gregory Clark.

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Northwood Local Schools Board of Education Thursday unaminously approved a cost-cutting plan that includes eliminating four teaching positions — two through the Wood County Educational Service Center — and a second administrative post for next school year.

The district needs to slash about $500,000 for the 2011-12 school year after Gov. John Kasich’s proposed state budget cut education funding. The district had anticipated cuts, so the school board last June approved closing for next year Lark Elementary to start shaving down that $500,000 figure. That move will save more than $200,000 annually, but more reductions needed to be made, said Superintendent Gregory Clark.

Another estimated $250,000 may have to be trimmed for the 2012-13 school year, although that final number has not been determined, Mr. Clark said.

“Basically, this is the beginning,” Mr. Clark told board members Thursday night. “We may have to take additional cuts later.”

Said Board President Denise Niese: “It’s just such a difficult time.”

It has not yet been determined which two teaching positions in the district will be eliminated, Mr. Clark said. Administratively, the district is eliminating the athletic director position. That’s in addition to the elimination of an elementary principal position, which was decided last month.

Teaching staff will assume duties of the athletic director, as well as the dean of students, Mr. Clark said.

Northwood Local also is reducing hours for custodial staff, not replacing a retiring secretary, and will eliminate another secretarial position, Mr. Clark said. A physical education/health teaching position also will not be replaced, and the board office may be moved into Northwood Middle School, he said.

“The pain is being spread around,” Mr. Clark said while board members were in an executive session. “We’re going to have to do the best we can for our kids.”

Closing Lark Elementary and the other cuts approved Thursday night make up the bulk of cuts for next year, Mr. Clark said. The district has been making cuts for five years, he added.

For next year, Olney Elementary will house preschool through second grades, while the middle school will have third through sixth grades and the high school seventh through 12th.

 

Contact Julie M. McKinnon at: jmckinnon@theblade.com or 419-724-6087.

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