Three positions cut from Central Montcalm Public School owing to shrinking budget

By Lori Hansen • Last Updated 10:43 am on Monday, December 10, 2012

STANTON — When Central Montcalm Public School students begin new class schedules at the semester break in January, there will also be some teachers with new schedules, as a result of layoffs of staff.

The school board voted 6-0 vote Wednesday, with board member Bill Collins absent, to lay off one middle school math teacher, the high school media center director and a custodian due to economic concerns.

“I don’t see any other way to get around it,” said Secretary Roxanne Switzer.

A projected loss of 52 students — with per pupil funding at $7,000 per student — is leaving the district financially shorter than what was expected.

“The cuts and re-organizing that are being brought in front of you tonight do not come easily,” said Superintendent Kristi Teall. “We have to cut $200,000 and that is not doable without these cuts. Even then, we are only able to hit $166,000.”

The layoff of the middle school math teacher, a lowest seniority staff member, will lead to reshuffling of courses taught by other high school and middle school math and science teachers.

“It was a domino effect (with eight other teachers being bumped),” Teall said. “Most of the teachers who (are switching course subjects) have taught those classes before. They are professional enough that they will be able to pick it up.”

The board also approved eliminating the high school media center director position, although students will still be able to check out books.

“We looked at media positions and what we found surprised me. Our initial thoughts were to reduce the media center position at the smallest school building, which would be the lower elementary in Sheridan,” Teall said.

Administration looked at the number of students and the number of books checked out and learned that 300 students in that building have checked out 3,500 books so far this year. The 500 students at the upper elementary school have checked out 9,000, books and the 900 middle school/high school students checked out only 750 books, according to Teall.

Board members questioned if students and classes would still be able to use the facility.

“We are unsure of how it will work, but we do not want the room closed. We will make it work,” Teall said.

Cuts of an upper elementary custodian led to changes in job description in plant maintenance and reshuffling of duties in groundskeeping and services.

“We will revamp where folks are and the hours we need to get the jobs done that need to be done,” said Teall.
Audience members voiced concern over the decision-making process on which employee was cut from full-time to part-time.

“My wife has been employed with the district for six years, five of those as a custodian,” said Donald Nassif of Sheridan. “She was cut from 40 hours to 25, just one hour short of qualifying for insurance and benefits, but there are some part-time people who weren’t cut. We are thankful she has a job at all, but it is really hard to see her as a loyal employee who has given 100 percent, then be kicked in the teeth.”

In other business, the board agreed to work in collaboration with Carson City-Crystal Area Schools, pending that school board’s approval, to provide technology leadership.

“They are in need of a tech person. It would generate funds for us and also help their district,” Teall said,

The board agreed to let Technology Director Harvey Shick and Curriculum Coordinator Amy Meinhardt collectively work 20 hours per week for the CC-C school district. CC-C would then pay $20,000 for a sixth month of service.

“I hate to share the two best technology people in Montcalm County, or for that matter, the state with anyone, but we sure could use the money, and can help them (CC-C) at the same time,” Teall said.

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