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Ellsworth School Board decides on some budget adjustments

The Ellsworth School Board’s regular April meeting was moved from the high school library, the normal meeting place, to the EHS auditorium Monday as the board discussed budget adjustment proposals. Approximately 45 people, many of whom are school personnel, attended the meeting besides board members and school officials. (Herald photo by Bill Kirk)

A line-by-line review of budget adjustment proposals led to some decisions from the Ellsworth School Board Monday.

A new set of proposals, largely resembling one discussed at a special meeting late last month, was presented to the board. These were grouped into five categories: teaching staff/support staff reductions, curriculum reductions/revenues, maintenance project/transportation reductions, miscellaneous reductions and technology reductions.

After hearing board input and some public comments on 40-plus items, various board members made motions to approve them, deny them or table them. In several cases, it was determined no action was necessary.

Superintendent Barry Cain reminded the board certain proposals under the teaching staff/support staff reductions category required immediate action due to a state dictate saying any non-renewals of contracts must be issued by the end of this month. Board members later Monday met in closed session intending to deal with staff initial notices of non-renewal and staff retirements. Meantime, although most of the rest of the items presented to them weren’t subject to a particular deadline, the board gave them attention anyway.

The budget adjustment proposals for staffing approved by the board Monday were: special education speech and language services, reduction in contract of present staff member by 33 percent, and special education physical therapy services, move from contracted service to own employee to reduce hourly and mileage costs, as planned; senior high school alternative education position, reduction in the contract for providing alternative education services and academic assistance; physical education staffing at middle and high schools, reduction of phy ed staff by one full-time position (had been 67 percent earlier) serving EHS and EMS; grade five teaching staff, due to a large fifth grade class at EMS in the 2014-15 school year, a teaching position has been proposed to maintain class sizes meeting established district goals; senior high school English department, reduce staffing by 32 percent for the English department; elementary aide positions, reduction of daily hours of classroom aides from 5.75 hours daily to four hours daily; senior high school special education teaching staff, reduction of one teaching position in the senior high school special education staff; and Hillcrest second grade teacher position, due to a large second grade class at Hillcrest in the 2014-15 school year, a teaching position has been proposed to maintain classes meeting established district goals (this proposal eliminates this position).

For more please read the April 16 print version of the Herald. 

Bill Kirk

Bill Kirk was editor of the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth, from 1988 to February, 2015 and is now on staff as a reporter. He holds a bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He previously worked in the media distribution department at the University of Minnesota's Minneapolis campus and is past editor of The Tri-County News in Osseo, Wisconsin.

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