USD 398 school board cuts three positions

Staff writer

Peabody-Burns Board of Education made the first of many tough decisions this year to combat large projected budget short falls.

After a 19-minute executive session with building administrators, the board decided to cut three positions, a multi-tiered systems of support teacher in the elementary school, and one 6-12 grade math, and one 6-12 grade science position.

The board voted 5-1 with board member Anthony Zappone voting against.

“It’s something we had to do to deal with budget,” Superintendent Ron Traxson said. “Somewhere that money has got to be made up, but this is also something we should do as we get smaller. We used to have enough students to have two teachers per grade, but we don’t need that anymore.”

Currently the district has three science and math teachers for grades 6-12. Monday’s cuts were merely positional, the board will decide during its April meeting whose contracts they will not renew. Curriculum and state assessment director, Kathy Preheim will absorb the duties of the MTSS teacher.

Traxson said those cuts will combat the budget short fall for this year, but other cuts will have to be made to make up the projected $300,000 over the next three years.

Those three positions were not the only ones left vacant Monday night. The board accepted the resignation of band and vocal music teacher Steven Wilson.

His resignation will take effect at the conclusion of his teaching duties, including an overnight band trip to Branson, Mo., after school ends.

Wilson has been with the district for two years.

Traxson is working to fill the position. He hopes to set up interviews with perspective candidates as soon as possible.

The board also discussed a possible bond issue. Burke Jones of Howard and Helmer Architecture gave a presentation about what assistance his firm could offer to the process.

The board is considering around a $1 million, five-year bond to complete long-term repairs to district facilities.

The district will create a steering committee of 10 to 12 people before next month’s meeting.

According to Jones, the board needs to decide by May whether or not to pursue the bond option to meet time guidelines before the November election.

The board also discussed a possible calendar for the next school year, which would include a five-day school week.

The year would begin for students Aug. 20, with two weeks off for Christmas break, and end May 15.

Spring break would be the third week in March, and fall in the middle of state testing.

“That is going to be hard,” Traxson said. “We’re going to have to cram all state testing into April.”

The calendar, if approved by teachers, would include several half-day in-service days rather than the previous full day.

“This will be a medium between the more planning time staff want, and providing good informative in-service days,” Traxson said.

In other business:

  • The board went into executive session for 15 minutes with principals to discuss supplemental positions.
  • The board nominated members Shayla Clark and Glendon Parks to the awards selection committee.
  • The board voted to hold off on insurance plans for part-time employees for two years because of changes to the Affordable Care Act.
  • The board agreed to provide transportation and cover fuel costs for the Adventure Club’s trip to Wilson Reservoir in June. The club will travel to Wilson and stay for two nights in place of the annual Colorado trip.
  • The board agreed to provide a transportation and fuel to the Business Professionals of America club so they can attend nationals in Indianapolis, Ind.
  • A scheduled discussion about contract negotiations was delayed until next meeting.

 

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