After Bethlehem and Woodbury voters , the Board of Education met on Monday, May 14, to discuss what happens next.
Members did not vote on a new bottom line, as the full board was not present to provide input. Region 14 Board of Education Chairman Chuck Cosgriff said the goal is to schedule a special board meeting for later this week.
The budget for 2012-13 failed, 1,203 to 836 districtwide, at the May 8 referendum. The rejected budget, at $31,205,513, featured a 3.17-percent increase or $959,484 over the 2011-12 budget of $30,246,029.
"The proposal we put out to the [voters] was voted against but that doesn't stop the various initiatives that this district needs to be engaged in," said Region 14 Superintendent Jody Goeler.
He said Region 14 now has to determine how to proceed with those initiatives after the budget failed.
Possible Budget Reductions
Goeler detailed the following possible budget reductions with the board. He said he went over the potential cuts with the region's leadership team.
- New staff: Director of curriculum — $153,658
- 1.0 full time equivalency social worker — $78,363
- Burner conversion — $150,000
- Special education tuition — 15,000 (Due to a student leaving the district)
- Pre-buy furniture — $15,000
- Athletics — Drop freshmen boys and girls' basketball — $6,585
- Purchased services: Athletics — $7,000
- Reduce stipends — $5,200
- Electric — $30,000
If the above reductions were approved by the Board of Education, the budget would then reflect a 1.65-percent increase over the 2011-12 budget, not factoring in possible offsetting revenue, Goeler said.
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Director of Curriculum
Goeler said he stands behind the position but acknowledged that voters did not seem to support the inclusion of the $153,658 director of curriculum position in the budget and felt this year was not the right year.
"There never has been a more critical time for that position to be in place," he said.
Goeler said that with the possible elimination of the director of curriculum, he is recommending $50,000 for a consultant and additional professional development support.
The board briefly discussed pay-to-play sports. Goeler said the region would get revenue but expressed concern over pitting teams against other teams.
"Is football cheaper than baseball?" he said. "It splits apart what is currently a cohesive athletic program."
Board member Maryanne Van Aken suggested the board look at Region 15's model. George Bauer said the board needs to give pay-to-play a good amount of thought before coming to a decision.
Duncan McDougall and Art McNally asked about obtaining existing curriculum development from other districts as a money saving technique.
Tom Arras said he knows the agriscience program is a good program but said Region 14 residents are taxed for students that do not reside in the district.
"It actually creates a deficit," he said. "What's the board going to do to make up the shortfall for out of town vo-ag students?"
Jim Uberti said he voted "yes" for the budget but said he feels like Goeler, while a great representative for the district, is not well known in the community. He said the district needs to mobilize the people who care about the children.
"We have to recognize that the children in this community keep it vibrant," he said. "They are its future."