Mar 132014

By Tammy Gray
A cost-cutting proposal that includes a reduction in the number of teachers was heard by the Joseph City Unified School District Governing Board during a work session on Tuesday.
Superintendent Brian Fields told the board that the district’s budget needs to be reduced by about $300,000 in the coming year. The biggest reason for the cuts is a decrease in enrollment, which will reduce the amount of funds available to the district by approximately $200,000. Salary and benefit increases, which Fields noted are necessary to ensure competitive salaries to retain and attract high-quality teachers, account for an additional $100,000. An additional $25,000 may also be necessary for increased costs due to inflation.
Proposed budget cuts include reducing the number of teaching positions by four, which would save the district about $200,000. No information was provided to the board regarding which positions would be eliminated and whether they are currently filled. Other cost-cutting measures include continuing with combined administrative positions, which saves approximately $66,000, reducing the salary of the new technology director position by $12,000, reducing the amount of district support for food services by $35,000 and eliminating health insurance benefits for part-time staff members for a savings of $18,000.
All told, the proposed cuts would reduce the budget by about $331,000 in the coming year.
The board did not take any action during the work session, and another session is scheduled for 5 p.m. on Tuesday, April 8, to allow the board more time to discuss the matter.
During the regular meeting following the work session, the board:
* Approved a resolution to move forward with a solar energy project.
* Tabled a proposal to study energy use at the schools.
* Approved a revision to the salary for the technology coordinator position that reduces the salary by $12,000, and appointed Jason Gardner to the position.
* Approved a fundraiser request, allowing the Joseph City Junior High School Student Council to sell lollipops.
* Approved Nella Carlisle as a softball volunteer.
* Approved tax credit donations to the art club to provide a summer educational opportunity for one of the district’s aspiring young artists.
* Accepted the resignation of elementary physical education teacher Amanda Sander.
* Approved payment of the five-percent performance stipend for Fields.
* Approved administrative contracts with Fields and Business Manager Steven Mills.
The next regular board meeting is scheduled at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, April 8.