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Modified Budget Would Preserve Programs, Cut More Staff and Administrators

If new $176.7 million budget is approved, full-day kindergarten, junior high school athletics, and the nine-period day at the high school will remain intact.

According to by the Three Village school administration, the decision to cut additional teachers, administrators, and other staff members has paved the way for a number of major programs to be retained.

Of more than $1.9 million in reductions made from , at least $1,281,000 is coming through the elimination of several teaching positions as well as three elementary school assistant principals. Including more than 85 positions already eliminated via previous budget cuts, the new adopted budget would bring the total number of full-time equivalent staff reductions to 109.

"These are very difficult decisions. You never really want to make these kinds of cuts," interim superintendent Neil Lederer said. "It does not benefit our children, but hopefully the reductions we’ve made to this point for the most part will maintain our programs."

The board adopted a budget of $176,701,579 to put up for a re-vote on June 19.

The administration's original recommendations called for the elimination of two elementary assistant principal positions, but board president John Diviney moved to up that number to three.

"I do think it is something we should do. I think we have to get used to this with this tax cut environment," he said. His suggestion was met with applause from a crowd of about 200.

Trustees Jonathan Kornreich and Susanne Mendelson voiced their support for Diviney's suggestion. However, Mendelson noted, "It isn’t an exciting time to be applauding for reduction in our administrative staff. They do in fact affect the running and the efficiency of our district."

Lederer said the district would likely assign one assistant elementary school principal to Arrowhead Elementary, which has the highest population of special needs students, while the other four elementary schools would share two assistant principals.

With that additional amount to work with, the school board then began the process of adding items back into the budget.

The full junior high school athletic program was one of them. The administration originally recommended a modified athletic program that would have saved $102,000. It would have called for teams at both schools to share the same schedule by registering only one team per sport with Section XI. The plan, according to Lederer, would have saved the district money in coaching positions, league fees, officials' fees, and transportation.

"I know that all my colleagues on the board feel the same way I do," Kornreich said of the junior high athletics reductions. "We would like to see those parts of the program restored."

While the was also on the initial list of eliminations, trustee Irene Gische recommended that be restored, too – a move that was met with another round of applause.

While the administration initially recommended $100,000 in cuts to K through 12 extracurricular activities, the school board was able to lower that amount to $43,000.

"It brings back things for the kids and that’s what we’re all about," trustee Dr. Jeff Kerman said.

Other cuts included in the revised budget:

  • The elimination of one dean at the secondary level;
  • The partial elimination of a social worker position;
  • Reducing elementary health education for a savings of $140,000;
  • Reducing summer work for guidance counselors for a savings of $75,000;
  • Reducing funding for the theater arts program by $84,000;
  • Increasing elementary class sizes nominally, saving $140,000;
  • Making $100,000 worth of non-staff reductions in technology and special education funding.

Following the meeting, some in the crowd expressed a sense of cautious relief.

"I'm very thankful that full-day kindergarten is restored. However, I think the elementary assistant principal losses are going to be felt throughout the community," said Claudine Pepe, a parent in the district. "People don't realize the level of service they provide."

Britt Halvorsen, who along with another parent created petitions that garnered more than 800 signatures in support of saving the junior high school athletics program, said she was satisfied that the program would be preserved as is. "I'm happier with [the budget], but I definitely think there still could be cuts in the administration," she said.

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3VillParent June 16, 2012 at 10:01 PM
The majority of the teachers that my child has had at WM do not care at all about the students. Many of them refused to come early or stay late to give extra help. My child took 9 classes and did not have a study hall or lunch for 3 years and yet some of the teachers would not accomodate with extra help out before or after school. They were available during the actual schook day and felt that this was enough. Others mocked my child's participation in the music and theatre program because she felt that her subject was more important. Yes, my child has also had some very good, caring teachers. However, there were more uncaring and self-serving teachers than good one. What a disappointment. I would not move to this district again, nor would I recommend it to anyone. It is clearly over rated. The taxes are indeed outrageous and I have been thoroughly disappointed in the secondary education that my child has received.
Nicco1973 June 17, 2012 at 05:01 PM
If this was such an issue, then why would you not complain to the teachers themselves or the principal. I could not imagine for one second, if my child were not receiving the proper services needed, me standing there idling. Parents are the mouthpiece's for their children. Hold them accountable and you'll see how quick things change. I'm a teacher and there are lazy people in every profession but to say most teacher's are not doing their job is highly unlikely.
Katherine June 19, 2012 at 02:30 AM
Tim, it is we're not were. Lighten up . You are all out of control. Continue to believe what you want to. Vote how your heart tell you to vote. Just be sure to vote!!!! Life will go on, we just want it to be the best one for our kids and grandkids. See you at the polls.
Katherine June 19, 2012 at 02:33 AM
We all think the grass is greener elsewhere. My 3 children went through the district k-12. They all had for the most part a great experience. A few bumps in the road, but nothing and no one is perfect.
Katherine June 19, 2012 at 02:36 AM
Nicco, I agree!! Teachers are an easy target. How about the dentists charging $500 or more a tooth for some procedures. No posts about them or mechanics or gas prices or Insignia charging a car payment for dinner.

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