The Tomahawk School Board spent a majority of their meeting last night going over and ultimately approving recommendations to close a projected budget shortfall next school year.
For the past several months, the board has discussed ways to overcome more than a half million dollars. Administrators from the elementary, middle and high schools all came up with cuts which were discussed.
Perhaps the most visible change is the switch to a 7 period day. This will allow longer instructional time for each class and allow for more consistent scheduling school wide. Negative impacts of the 7 period day brought up included a potential reduction in options, a potential increase in class size, and the combining of Literature and Language Arts which would reduce instruction time in those classes.
Goals in the cuts were to maintain student programing and maintain instructional staffing. Proposed elementary cuts included $47,000. It includes eliminating a half time library paraprofessional and a reduction in the building budget. The middle school proposal included $74,000, examples include moving a lit teacher to the reading department and eliminating drama and writer’s guild positions. High School reductions came in at $94,000 through retirement attrition and athletic department reductions.
District wide cuts totaled $128,000 through cuts including eliminating a bus route and reduction in the pay for substitute custodians amongst other things.
Overall those cuts added up to $344,000, with an additional $200,000 coming from fund balance. Fortunately, this year’s projected surplus will cover that amount.
In the end, the board approved the recommendations by voice vote. Those cuts will cover next school year, but a 2015-2016 shortfall is on the horizon. With the school already “running lean,” the next option could be a referendum.