Judy Spooner is the longest-serving staff writer at the South Washington County Bulletin. Spooner, who covers education and features in addition to writing a weekly column, has been with the newspaper for over 30 years.
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The District 833 School Board agreed cut $6 million from the 2009-2010 budget at its March 26 meeting. District elementary school media specialists were at the meeting to make sure a specialist reduction of one-half position was not made and that more specialists didn't get cut. Superintendent Tom Nelson said fewer specialists will be needed next year when sixth-graders move to middle schools.
The District 833 Budget Adjustment Task Force met Monday, March 2, and agreed to send the school board $5.8 million in suggested cuts in the 2009-2010 budget. The task force also sent two more lists, one containing possible cuts worth $1.2 million and one containing cuts worth $1.2 million for a total of $7.5 million in possible budget cuts. The School Board plans to take the suggested cuts into account to make $5 million in actual cuts.
The District 833 budget task force has re-structured the mandate from school board members to submit $7.5 million in suggested cuts from the 2009-2010 budget so the board can trim $5 million. The task force met, Feb.
Assistant Superintendent Mark Porter, who has been hired to take the job of superintendent of School District 833 at the end of June, will make $159,900, according to the contract approved by the school board, Feb. 17. The annual salary is the same as is currently being paid to Superintendent Tom Nelson who is retiring in June. The vote was 5-2 with board members Marsha Adou and Tracy Brunnette voting against. Like Nelson's contract, Porter, who currently heads human resources and legal services, will have a tax-sheltered annuity.
Among the changes for School District 833 next school year, parents can add new school-day start times. Instead of getting to their first hour classes at 7:30 a.m., high school students will start at 8:35 a.m. and end the day at 3:05 p.m. The school board, at the Feb.
Meeting in small groups, the District 833 budget task force got to work Feb. 9, and offered suggestions to cut $7.5 million from the 2009-2010 budget. Some task force members suggested the district freeze wages.
Residents and teachers shared their thoughts and worries on new school start time plans at public meetings held last Monday and Tuesday. Resident Joanne Micu's concern about elementary schools starting at 7:45 a.m., as set forth in one plan, was shared by others who said it's not safe for kids to be walking to school or standing at bus stops in the dark. Molly Babbitt, Newport Elementary School teacher, and several other Newport teachers, object to their start time moving from 8:05 a.m.
Anticipating no additional money from the state, School District 833 is slated to raise class sizes by an average of one-half student next year at all grade levels. The District 833 School Board voted unanimously in favor of increasing class sizes to save money at its Jan.
When the District 833 School Board meets Feb. 5, it will get four plans from the committee working on proposals to change the start and end times of district schools in order to start high schools later in the morning. The four plans under consideration, Plan 15, Plan 16, Plan 17 and Plan Three vary from a 7:30 a.m. start to an 8:35 a.m. start for high schools. Residents can attend either of two community meetings scheduled at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 9 at Park High School and Tuesday, Feb.
The sky is not falling, Superintendent Tom Nelson told the District 833 School Board at the Jan. 8 workshop. The district is "in good shape" but will be in better condition in upcoming years if it curbs spending now, he said. He recommended the board increase class sizes by an average of one-half student at all grade levels.