Two early retirements, teacher reductions will save district $331,000
The Alta School Board presented recommendations Monday on how to reduce expenditures for the fiscal year 2009. With 85 percent of the budget going towards salaries, it has been necessary to take a close look at staff. The reduction recommendations include eliminating teacher's positions and reducing positions to less than full-time. It is necessary to reduce the expenses by at least $327,000 in order to remain "financially solvent and maintain a strong district."
the administrative team has worked on this issue since November in a way that will make the "least impact on students."
The following reductions were presented:
* Media specialist from 1.0 to .5
* Vocational agriculture from 1.0 to .5
* Elementary guidance from .7 to .5
* High School At Risk will be eliminated
* Kindergarten - eliminate one position
* High school associates - reduce two positions
* Elementary associates - reduce 1.5 positions
* Middle school associates - eliminate one position
* Custodial hours - reduce overtime
* Volleyball coach -reduce one position
* Saturday School supervisor - reduce to one Saturday per month
Four teachers were given the one-time opportunity to take early retirement with a bonus to do so, as a way to reduce the budget. Two of those teachers - Carolyn Lessmeier (second grade) and Mike Norris (high school P.E.) - agreed to the early retirement.
Also on the list of reductions was the elimination of one football coaching position; it was suggested that recommendation be reconsidered.
The board agreed to the recommendations. A reduction of $331,027.59 will be seen which also includes cooperation from teachers and administrators, supply budget and coaches travel.
"Additional cuts can be made if the board and administrators desire to add staff for next year," Maharry said. "I believe that in light of our financial challenges, these cuts are logical and will help our district meet financial and educational needs in the future."
In addition to discussion on the budget, the board also talked about how the remainder of the crow's nest project should be funded.
Maharry suggested that the Cyclone Boosters or football coach Kevin Hammer plan a fundraiser to bring in dollars for the remainder. The district already donated $9,000 to the project. Other board members agreed that if more funds are donated that other organizations may look at it as a "blank check" and also come to expect the same financial backing when needed.
Board member Dave Turnquist said he is not ready to see the pressure put on coach Hammer or the Boosters. "The school benefits (from the crow's nest) and track also benefits.
Board member Dale Wetherell agreed that he is not "ready to drop it."
Turnquist planned to attend the next Booster meeting and see if some kind of plan can be developed. Turnquist suggested possibly finding businesses to pay for advertising on the football programs.
Maharry said that the City of Alta agreed to pick up $729 in expenses for rock that was placed under the crow's nest.