WAUSEON -- Wauseon Exempted Village Schools Board of Education members on Monday approved almost $400,000 in budget cuts, which includes the elimination of four teaching positions and a reduction in courses and technology services.
In a 5-0 vote, the board authorized a staff reduction plan that includes the elimination for the 2013-14 school year of a physical education teacher, a French teacher, a technology teacher, and a third-grade teacher.
The proposed plan is designed to close a $370,000 deficit.
Larry Brown, superintendent, said the budget cuts are an unfortunate consequence of decreasing revenues.
“This is a one-year solution,” he said, adding that the district will have to re-evaluate the financial situation next year. “... It’s not something that we’d like to do.”
As part of the cuts, the French program at Wauseon High School will be phased out. Next year, only French 3 and French 4 classes will be offered to allow existing students to complete honors diploma requirements.
“There would be other options,” Mr. Brown said, referring to other electives students would be able to take.
Five supplemental contracts for extracurricular programs, including the French Club, will also be eliminated for the next school year, for a savings of about $15,000.
Reducing one third-grade teacher will be done because the existing second-grade enrollment doesn’t warrant the additional instructor, Mr. Brown said.
“That will keep our class sizes at the same level,” he said.
Technology services will also be reduced and supported by contract-only work, saving the district an estimated $38,000. That move will also impact the elective schedule for grades seven and eight by eliminating a technology course.
With the removal of one physical education teacher, the district plans to allow some students who are in other electives that involve physical activity, such as cheerleading or marching band, to waive their physical education requirement.
Administrative restructuring will account for about $30,000 in savings.
Mr. Brown will oversee the gifted-and-talented academic program, which was a service previously provided by the Northwest Ohio Educational Service Center. Upcoming employee retirements also will help save the district money, officials said.
The board is also considering additional ways to make money, including the pursuit of grant funding, Mr. Brown said.
Board president Sandra Griggs said the eliminations were “not things we like to hear, but we have to move forward.”
Michelle Myers, vice president of Ohio Association of Public School Employees Local 533, said she came to the meeting to hear what the school board had to say, after hearing the district was looking at possibly reducing expenditures in multiple departments, including transportation. Ms. Myers, who has been a bus driver for 10 years, said her position is currently not at risk.
“We have been told that, at this point, they are still in the process of going through each of the departments,” she said. A pay freeze for the district has been implemented for the last several years, but she said she still wasn’t worried.
“It’s the economic climate,” Ms. Myers said. “... We don’t feel like we’re getting screwed.”
Karen Rees, OAPSE Local 533 president, said she also attended the meeting to see what the board planned to do.
“Everything was within reason,” she said, adding that she thought the plan was well thought out.
Contact Kelly McLendon at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6522, or on Twitter @KMcBlade.