BELDING — Belding Area Schools is welcoming six new teachers to its district — four at the elementary level and two who will be teaching special education.
“We have had the pleasure of conducting several interviews even though we are in budget reduction mode, and we were able to add new staff where we had some vacant positions,” Interim Superintendent Sara Shriver said.
At Monday night’s Belding school board meeting, Ellis Elementary Principal Tiffany Jackson announced the hiring of three second grade teachers, including Bethany Paterson, a graduate of Grand Valley State University, Kristen Albert, a graduate of Hope College, and Melissa Wright, a graduate from the University of Phoenix, as well as Belding High School.
Woodview Elementary Principal Bruce Cook announced the hiring of third grade teacher Jody Watkins, who comes from the Kentwood Public School system and graduated from Grand Valley State University.
Special Education Director Maureen Dorough announced the hiring of two teachers within the special education department.
Rachel Sneller will teach at the middle school and Sarah Rockburn will teach at two buildings.
“We’re very excited to have you as a part of our team,” Board President Tom Humpheys said to the new teachers at Monday night’s meeting. “You’re coming to Belding at an exciting time. This is going to be a good year for you and we’re real excited that you are here as well.”
School board members also voted Monday night to approve Shriver’s contract.
“At our last meeting, we all agreed to have Mrs. Shriver serve as our interim superintendent,” Humpheys said. “She will continue to serve as the director of curriculum and instruction and technology, as well as the interim superintendent.”
According to Humphreys, the prior annual cost of the superintendent position was $140,000 which included base salary, benefits and expenses.
The new contract for the interim superintendent is $27,500 for the year on top of the $91,500 that Shriver was being paid for her original position.
“This hire comes at a significant cost savings for the district,” Humphreys said. “We should realize a savings of $112,500 for this year. The savings will be used to offset some of the current budget deficit.”
In other news, the board approved a decrease in non-union staff wages of 1.5 percent.
“It’s never easy to ask people to take wage decreases,” Humphreys said. “These people are deserving of increases, but unfortunately with our budget, that’s not the position we are in.”