School budget cuts continue
Board eliminates more than 45 positions
The Marysville Board of Education approved staff changes April 18 that will cut more than 45 jobs throughout the district.
Twenty-four of those are reductions in force for the district's teaching staff. Other jobs were eliminated in the non-teaching and administrative staffs.
The three resolutions addressing the moves were each approved on a 4-1 vote, with board member Amy Powers dissenting.
The job losses are part of $2.3 million in budget cuts the district has been making after the defeat of a levy last November.
Superintendent Diane Mankins said 14 employees who were on the original reduction list will be able to stay because of 15 resignations and 15 retirements announced since December.
Cuts to the teaching staff include two industrial technology teachers, three family and consumer science teachers, a French teacher, five music teachers, two business teachers, one middle school library teacher, two art teachers, half a curriculum position at Creekview Intermediate School, one dean of students, three physical education teachers and one student support coordinator.
The plan also includes the elimination of extended days' staff, including student support services at Creekview, and a media specialist, a work transition position and a band position at Marysville High School.
Non-teaching staff positions eliminated include one receptionist, 11 office aides, two social workers, one programmer, one secretary and two health consultants.
Administrative positions cut include one operations manager, a human resources director and two curriculum directors.
The April 18 board meeting started on a high note with the recognition of three of Marysville High School seniors as National Merit finalists, along with the district's state wrestling championship finalists and 13 master teachers.
But the mood turned somber as the board worked through the agenda, creeping closer to the vote on the resolutions for reducing the workforce.
"Talk about both ends of the spectrum. We started out talking about some great things and this is the worst thing to talk about," board President Jeff Mabee said.
Board member Doug Lassiter agreed that letting so many good people go was tough.
"We've experienced all kinds of successes and those people were a part of that," he said.
One by one, each board member talked about how difficult it was to make the choices to cut positions.
"It is a heart-wrenching thing we have to do. It feels devastating," board member Tracy Greer said.
Powers, despite voting against the reduction resolutions, commended Mankins on her efforts to do the best thing possible in the situation.
"My commitment to this board and community is to work tirelessly so we don't end up here again," Mankins said. "Every one of those people has touched someone's life."
"I hope, as a community, we stick together and make sure this never, ever happens again," Powers said.
Treasurer Cindy Ritter said the situation was difficult for her as well.
"This is the hardest thing to do as a school treasurer: to say 'here's the money and we need to make cuts.' You have my commitment we will get through this," Ritter said.
However, district officials noted that another $3 million will have to be cut from the budget if a proposed 9-mill continuous renewal levy fails in May. If that happens, contingency plans include the loss of 46.5 staff jobs and 75 supplemental contracts; dropping middle school sports, freshman sports, one assistant coach for every high school sport; and doubling pay-to-participate fees from $200 to $400 per sport.
Mabee emphasized the long-term plan is trying to get the district in a positive financial situation.
"If we don't stabilize what we're doing, this is a process we're going to keep going through," he said. "I hope this closes a chapter in the district we never have to open again."