School board hears cost-cutting options

Brown County Schools needs to cut about $1 million from its budget.

That’s the news Superintendent Laura Hammack delivered to the school board tonight, based on projections for enrollment and funding coming from the state.

She also delivered 16 recommendations on how to meet that number.

They include:

  • eliminating 8.5 paraprofessional jobs, spread among schools ($212,500 estimated savings)
  • replacing all five certified preschool teachers with instructors who hold associate degrees and reassigning those certified teachers elsewhere in the district ($177,485)
  • moving the cost of substitute teachers to the capital projects fund by contracting with an outside company to hire them ($100,000)
  • cutting back on outside “professional development” spending, which was $93,600 in 2016 ($60,000)
  • discontinuing the Alternative to Homebound program at the Brown County Career Resource Center and eliminating the teacher position ($58,000)
  • not replacing a special education teacher/instructional assistant at Brown County Intermediate School who had been serving on an emergency permit ($50,290)
  • drastically reducing overtime pay, which was $92,218 through March this school year (at least $50,000)
  • switching to Career and Technical Education courses that could be reimbursable by the state, as opposed to offering other, similar types of courses ($50,000)
  • not replacing a special education teacher at Brown County Intermediate School who was not going to return next school year ($45,188)
  • having only one first-grade classroom at Van Buren Elementary School, not replacing a teacher who wasn’t going to return next school year ($44,000)
  • shifting from extended school year services to summer school programming, which is reimbursable ($25,000)
  • eliminating a half-time speech-language pathologist job ($22,500)
  • cutting additional support that a retired teacher had been providing to the foreign language department at Brown County High School while another teacher was getting advanced certifications ($20,103)
  • cutting back on instructional team leader positions, which are are extra duties for which 16 teachers are paid ($16,051)
  • discontinuing the contract for a retired teacher who had been helping to run the district’s website and produce video projects ($12,000)
  • eliminating all building technology leader positions, which are extra duties some teachers are paid to do (10,320).

TOTAL PROJECTED SAVINGS: $958,437

Some of these recommendations, such as the substitute teacher service and the CTE and summer school courses, have already been implemented.

The board didn’t take immediate action on any of the other recommendations.

About 25 people, many of them teachers and staff, attended tonight’s meeting. A few nodded as Hammack explained the situation and her recommendations.

A meeting for school staff was planned for Monday.

Hammack said that over the years, even though enrollment has been shrinking for some time, Brown County Schools has continued to add teachers and staff.

“We need to make modifications to our budget so that our expenditures match our revenue,” she said.

However, the district is still committed to providing raisers for certified and non-certified staff so Brown County Schools can stay competitive with area districts and “honor our current team members for the great work that they are doing,” she said.

“The only way we can do this is by bringing our current staffing model in line with our student enrollment.”

Read more in the April 26 paper.