Clay Community Schools Board of Trustees passed most of the 23 budget reduction options presented by Superintendent Thomas Rohr at last night's regular board meeting, which is his last official public meeting before he begins his new position at Greater Clarke County schools.
"After several work sessions with the board, it decided there's a lot of other line items that could be reduced. Odds and ends that aren't on the list (of 23) that could add up to a significant amount. The board will have the opportunity to discuss those things in the future. As a board, you have the prerogative to make changes as conditions warrant. But this gives the business manager and new superintendent some direction," Rohr said.
The school corporation will begin next year with $3.2 million. If it gets the expected state revenue, spends no more than what's in the budget, gives no salary increases and eliminates all 23 line items, the ending cash balance for 2003 will be $750,000. If the board continues the same pattern of reductions in 2004, the corporation will have a (negative) -$548,000 cash balance.
"Had the board followed Dr. Rohr's lead in the past years, we would not be up here cutting expenses tonight. He has been called a 'finance man' and that doesn't give him the credit he deserves. I admire him for making decisions in the best interest of Clay Community Schools," Len Fischer, board member, said.
Trustees voted on the items as follows:
1. Eliminate corporation promotional expense. The State Board of Accounts allows each school corporation to spend $1 per student on recognition ceremonies, et cetera. Savings would be $4,500 in 2004. With the exception of staff recognition banquet, 7-0 in favor.
2. Eliminate requirement for school board attorney to attend all board meetings. Savings would be $1,250 in 2003 and $2,500 in 2004. All in favor.
3. Eliminate academic honors diploma payments to students. The board is committed in 2003 but savings for 2004 would be $55,000. Vetoed unanimously.
4. Reduce amount of cell phones to eight. Savings for 2003 would be $2,000 and $4,000 for 2004. Passed 6-1 with board member Terry Barr voting no.
5. Offer no summer school. Savings for 2004 would be $10,000. Passed 4-3 with Fischer, Ted Jackson and Barr against.
6. Reduce instructional supply account by 20 percent. Savings would be $15,000 in 2003 and $30,000 in 2004. Passed 6-1 with Barr voting no.
7. Restrict hiring subs for conference travel, excused days and field trips could save the corporation $7,500 in 2003 and $15,000 in 2004. Passed 6-1 with Barr voting no.
8. Reducing one LPN (licensed practical nurse) position could save $7,380 in 2003 and $21,324 in 2004. No action was taken after board member Joe Thomas asked school nurse Lynn Stoelting to address the board. She said the corporation has applied for Medicaid reimbursement for those students eligible, grant money may be available and St. Vincent Clay Hospital has been approached to help fund the position.
9. Not replacing the retiring media specialist position at Forest Park Elementary and Instructional Media Center. Savings would be $22,815 in 2003 and $61,617 in 2004. Passed 5-2 with Barr and Fischer against.
10. Not replacing the retiring media specialist position at Van Buren and Jackson Township Elementaries. Savings would be $22,815 in 2003 and $61,617 in 2004. No action was taken as the corporation has not officially received Carolyn Ledgerwood's resignation.
11. Eliminate software training specialist. Savings for 2003 would be $13,123 and $37,911 in 2004. Passed 4-3 with Jon Hull, Steve Grigsby and Bob Atkinson voting against.
12. Not replacing retiring maintenance position would save $12,136 in 2003 and $35,060 in 2004. Passed unanimously.
13. Payment of extra-curricular activities academic teams from the gifted and talented grant would save $3,638 in 2003 and $10,512 in 2004. Passed unanimously.
14. Payment of extra-curricular activities vocational teams from the Carl Perkins grant would save $1,783 in 2003 and $5,050 in 2004. No action could be taken as it was discovered the board has no authority in this matter.
15. Reduction of instructional assistant positions by 10. Each of those positions pays $10,147. So a savings of $40,972 in 2003 would be realized with a $118,365 savings for 2004. No action was taken.
16. Eliminate food service/custodial supervisory position. Savings would be $9,500 in 2003 and $27,634 in 2004. The board voted in favor of this action, amending it to take effect next year based on the policy handbook which requires this position to receive notification by Dec. 31. It passed 4-3 with Atkinson, Hull and Jackson voting no.
17. Not replacing retiring guidance counselor position at the high school and transferring a guidance counselor from the middle school into that position would save $21,374 in 2003 and $61,748 in 2004. Passed unanimously.
18. Eliminate one printing period would save $4,275 in 2003 and $12,350 in 2004. Passed unanimously.
19. Reduction in force (RIF) of four elementary positions. This action was taken at the last board meeting in April. It will save $52,620 in 2003 and $152,014 in 2004. This action was taken at a previous board meeting in April. It will save $52,620 in 2003 and $152,014 in 2004. Barr, Fischer, Jackson and Grigsby won the decision over Atkinson, Hull and Thomas.
20. RIF 2.9 positions at the secondary level. This action was also taken at the last board meeting in April. It will save $38,150 in 2003 and $110,210 in 2004. This action was also taken at the last board meeting in April. It will save $38,150 in 2003 and $110,210 in 2004. Barr, Fischer, Jackson and Grigsby won the decision over Atkinson, Hull and Thomas.
21. Not hiring a custodial sub for one-day absences would save $3,000 in 2003 and $6,000 in 2004. Passed unanimously.
22. Not hiring instructional assistant subs would save $7,500 in 2003 and $12,000 in 2004. Passed unanimously.
23. Reducing custodial overtime pay could save $3,000 in 2003 and $5,000 in 2004. Passed unanimously.