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Budget Cuts dominate school board discussions

The Pony Express Learning Center at Marysville High School will close on May 14th unless support is found on the local level. David Walters, Director of Alternative Education informed the Marysville School Board on Monday that the Center will close unless it is kept open on a local level. Linda Prior, Pony Express Learning Center instructor also requested the school board take action to keep the center open. No decision was made by the board.

Southern Wymore School District will not be forced to cut teaching positions for the 2010-2011 School Year. Because of a 665,000 dollar cut in state aid Superintendent Lee Hall had been given the duty by the Southern School Board of eliminating as many as 4 and one half positions. The Southern School District also offered early retirement packages to eligible teachers, hoping to eliminate some of the positions through retirement. Friday was the cutoff for teachers to announce their retirement. Shortly after 2 p.m. Thursday afternoon, business teacher Karen Zimmerman called Hall from a track meet to let him know she would take the early retirement package. Hall said teachers Larry and Shirley Anderson, Larry Jensen, Elroy Ideus, Marcia Moss and JaNahn VanHorn also choose to retire this week. Hall commented that several of retiring teachers were doing so at this time to specifically help the school district avoid letting younger teachers go.

USD 223, Barnes, Hanover, and Linn School board was encouraged to consider a 4 day school week to help decrease costs. Teachers currently employed by USD 223 expressed their support for a 4 day school week and presented the board with information from other districts that have instituted the four day work week. The board is still awaiting notification of state funding for the next school year. A special meeting has been scheduled for Monday, April 26th to discuss the budget.

The Washington School Board also discussed possible cuts to meet the expected decrease in funding. School Superintendent Micheal Stegman listed several areas that could be looked at for budget reduction. They included returning to half day kindergarten, elimination of art and music programs, elimination of co-curricular programs such as vocational agriculture, eliminating speech and forensics, and no longer offering a Driver’s Education course. Further meetings are expected to be scheduled to work toward finalizing next year’s budget.

About Jeff Ottens