Be equal in making cuts, official urges school board
The board president said the cuts are ongoing.
By DENISE DICK
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- The president of the Warren Education Association urged school board members to make cuts equal across the district.
"I know there are more cuts that can be made across the board," said Jeff Pegg at a school board meeting Tuesday.
Pegg was reacting to a recommendation from Superintendent Betty English announced last week that Devon and Roosevelt elementary schools will be closed at the end of this school year. The closures mean that 43 teachers and administrators and 45 other employees will lose their jobs.
Another elementary school may close the following year.
Pegg said the cuts should apply equally to administrators.
"We want what's best for the students of Warren City Schools, just like you do," he said.
Reason for cuts
The cuts are in response to a deficit looming over the district caused by a loss of enrollment, money being diverted to charter and community schools and rising insurance costs.
Under the district's current five-year forecast, the district would see a $4.7 million deficit in fiscal year 2005 which would increase to more than $26 million in 2007.
Under the administration's plan, the deficit won't occur until 2007.
"It's hard to justify to the membership that they're getting laid off when there are people [working] that they don't know what they do," Pegg said, pointing to the facilities director as an example.
Lynn Gibson, board president, said the reductions will be ongoing.
"This is the beginning," she said. "The priority was to keep programs for children, and no programs for children were cut."
Voted to close
Board members unanimously voted to follow English's recommendation and close the two elementary schools at the end of this school year.
With 147 pupils, Devon is the district's smallest elementary schools. Roosevelt, built in 1917, is one of the district's oldest buildings.
Pupils attending Devon and Roosevelt this year will be sent to Lincoln, Garfield, Emerson, McGuffey and Secrest elementary schools next year.
In other business, board members heard from the principals of Devon, Emerson, Horace Mann, Secrest and Jefferson elementary schools about their respective schools' improvement plans. The principals listed programs geared at improving attendance as well as methods being employed to improve proficiency test scores.