LORDSTOWN Schools chief advises keeping nurse position

Some worried parents criticized elimination of the nurse position.
LORDSTOWN -- Superintendent Ray Getz is recommending that the school nurse position, set for elimination July 1, be reinstated.
The position was one of several approved for elimination by the school board and fiscal oversight commission earlier this year to reduce costs.
The district has been in fiscal emergency since December because of a projected $1.35 million deficit by the end of this month.
Parents criticize: The move drew criticism from some parents who contended that without a nurse, no one would be able to administer medical treatment to their children during the school day.
"We've come to the conclusion that it wouldn't be prudent to be without this position," Getz told commission members Tuesday. "The small savings are not worth the risk. A school nurse is not mandated, but some of the services are mandated and only a school nurse can provide them."
Elimination of the nurse position was projected to save the district $29,036. One nurse serves all three of the district's schools.
On the agenda: Commission members didn't act on the recommendation, but chairman William Wenger said he'd put it on the agenda for the panel's next meeting, July 11.
Beth Krempasky, one parent who expressed concerns about the nurse's post, was pleased with the recommendation but said she won't rest easy until the reinstatement is approved.
"Until it's official, I'm not holding my breath," said Krempasky, whose son is diabetic.
"I'm glad he feels the nurse should be reinstated," said Bonnie Taylor, another parent.
Taylor's son is diabetic and asthmatic. "I still think they need to look at a broader range of cuts that will affect a broader range of people," she said.
Other cutbacks: Getz presented commission members with a list of additional recommendations for ways the district can cut costs. Among those, which the commission didn't act upon, are participation fees of $50 per activity per student for the 2001-2002 school year.
Getz also suggested increasing student and adult lunch prices, expanding restrictions on bus transportation limitations for next year and suspension of some supplemental salary positions and activities.
Most, but not all, of the supplemental salary positions and activities would likely be in athletics, according to the list.
But Getz cautioned that the decisions about what programs would be cut need careful consideration.
"If we choose to just use the meat cleaver, many families that have been supportive of our school district will leave and seek other quality school districts that have these programs," he said.

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