School district to vote on cutting teachers

“The cuts are due to the $7 million deficit we have that is the result of state funding cuts, three failed levies and property devaluations,” said Bethany Reiff, district spokeswoman.

The district removed a 6.99 mill levy from the May ballot, which district officials said in February would have raised about $3.9 million each year. The district is going to return to the ballot in November but they haven’t determined how much to ask voters for, board President Bud Zupp said.

Christy L. Donnelly, who will be retiring as superintendent in June, made the recommendation for the cuts.

Reiff’s public relations coordinator position is included in those positions set to be eliminated, along with Kelly Thomas, an assistant principal at the high school. Reiff’s position will be eliminated in December and Thomas’s position will be eliminated in July.

Fourteen of the overall eliminated staff positions are support staff, which includes custodians and educational aides. These positions, along with the teacher positions will be eliminated in June.

In addition to the jobs, the district also is eliminating art, music and physical education courses for students who will be attending Morton Middle School next school year, Reiff said. Right now, Morton houses grades 5 to 8, but the board also voted for a district reconfiguration, which means the school would house grades 6 to 8 next school year.

The reconfiguration vote approval also calls for Smith Elementary School to house grades 4 and 5; Helke Elementary School to house kindergarten to third grade; and Demmitt Elementary to house preschool to third grade. The high school would stay the same.

None of the teachers are from Murlin Heights, the elementary school the district is closing after this school year ends. The school’s closing is expected to save the district approximately $1 million.

The board is expected to vote on a contract for Brad Neavin during a special meeting on April 30. Neavin, superintendent of Eaton Community Schools, recently was selected to replace Donnelly as superintendent.