April 19, 2014

Elyria
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Midview’s ‘devastating’ cuts revealed

EATON TWP. — Midview Schools plans a series of massive cutbacks including elimination of sports and extracurricular activities, as well as a shortened school day, if a levy doesn’t pass.

The cuts were explained to a stunned staff after school Monday, Superintendent John Kuhn said.

Kuhn said he worked hand in hand with the school board on the list of cutbacks, a process he called “extremely stressful and difficult.”

“Extracurriculars include all those opportunities in athletics, clubs, music, art and drama that will not be available next year if we don’t pass a levy,” Kuhn said.

The public is invited to provide input at a school board meeting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Midview High School gym.

“There will be great shock in the community,” Kuhn said. “The educational community is surprised, but they’ve been prepared and realize that difficult decisions are being made.”

The plan takes place in two phases: the first beginning Feb. 18 and the second at start of the 2013-14 school year.

The first wave of cutbacks in February involve transportation, library services and shortened school days if a 9.75-mill levy does not pass at a special election Feb. 5, Midview officials warned.

There will be a five-hour school day for kindergarten to fourth grade, beginning at 7:25 a.m. and ending at 12:25 p.m.

There will be a five-and-a-half-hour school day for grades five to 12, beginning at 8:25 a.m. and ending at 1:55 p.m.

The initial wave of cutbacks will include eliminating seven library paraprofessional positions and 12 educational monitor positions.

The majority of the reductions would occur at the beginning of the 2013-14 school year, when athletics, band, choir and clubs would be eliminated along with numerous teaching, coaching and administrative positions.

The athletic director would be eliminated along with five custodians, one French and one Spanish teacher, two staff members for Air Force JROTC and one industrial technology teacher, one family and consumer sciences teacher and one guidance counselor.

Kuhn said the decision of what to reduce and what to keep was not an easy one and the district did its best to keep the reductions away from core academics.

If all of the reductions take place, “it will be a devastating loss to our students in terms of opportunity and college and career readiness,” Kuhn said.

“We’re in the business of making more opportunities for kids, not in the business of deconstructing opportunities for kids,” he said.

When asked if there was a possibility that some group might try to keep sports alive, Kuhn expressed doubt.

“As I understand it, there are no opportunities for sports if we don’t pass this levy,” Kuhn said. “That’s why we’re so concerned about students who might leave the district for opportunities in other districts.”

Midview Schools collects about $1 million a year as a result of 250 to 300 students who attend Midview through open enrollment from Elyria and other schools.

Those students could go elsewhere, resulting in an even greater loss to the district, Kuhn said.

The 9.75-mill levy would cost the owner of a $100,000 home $298 a year, he said.

Voters approved a renewal levy for the Midview Schools last year, but there has been no new money for the district since 1993.

Kuhn said some reductions will happen regardless of if a levy passes, including moving the district’s administrative offices from a rented building, saving $47,000 a year.

The director of facilities position held by Susan Bobola will not be reinstated, although Bobola could work elsewhere in the district, possibly as a teacher, Kuhn said.

“Midview is a great school district that has been fiscally responsible with the revenue we receive,” Kuhn said. “Our per-pupil expenditure is one of the lowest in the state, meaning we spend significantly less per student than most other school districts, saving taxpayer dollars. We have been rated an effective school district and have many positive things happening in the district. We will lose that positive momentum if we have to make $2.3 million in cuts.”

Among those reacting to the plan was Athletic Director Creg Jantz, who said the kids will be the ones who suffer.

“People need to understand that staff will go on and find other work, but this affects the kids,” Jantz said. “You’ll never get your experiences back, whether it’s as a member of Junior ROTC, the band or sports.”

Parents — and those who care about property values — will be asked to help, said Lisa Ward, co-chair of the Compass Committee, which will work to get the levy passed.

“These are devastating cuts,” Ward said. “Luckily they are not final — this requires a call to action to members of our community to save our schools and our property values.”

For more information on the district and its plans, go to www.midviewk12.org.

EFFECTIVE 2013-14 SCHOOL YEAR REGARDLESS OF LEVY PASSAGE

  • The Midview administration building will be moved onto the school campus.
  • The director of facilities position will not be reinstated.
  • The North and West Elementary buildings will be led by one principal and one assistant principal.
  • The North and West Elementary buildings will become grade level buildings for grades one to four, while kindergarten will be organized among the buildings.
  • The special education supervisor position contract service will be eliminated and a position including those duties and others will be developed at a reduced cost.

EFFECTIVE FEB. 18 IF FEB. 5 LEVY FAILS

TRANSPORTATION SERVICES:

  • All special requests for transportation will be eliminated. Student pickup and drop-off will be from the student’s home to the school and the school to home.
  • Transportation will be reduced to a 2-mile limit.
  • Staff reductions include one mechanic and five bus driver positions.

LIBRARY SERVICES:

  • All libraries and computer labs will be closed and available on a limited basis.
  • Staff reductions include seven library paraprofessional positions.

STATE MINIMUM SCHOOL DAY:

  • A five-hour school day will be implemented for kindergarten to fourth grade, beginning at 7:25 a.m. and ending at 12:25 p.m.
  • A 5½-hour school day will be implemented for grades five to 12, beginning at 8:25 a.m. and ending at 1:55 p.m.
  • Staff reductions include 12 educational monitor positions.
  • Buildings will open 40 minutes before school starts and close 40 minutes after school ends.

EFFECTIVE 2013-14 IF A LEVY DOES NOT PASS

ELEMENTARY SCHOOL REDUCTIONS:

  • Elimination of art, music and physical education for kindergarten to sixth grade.
  • Staff reductions include three physical education positions, three music positions, 2½ art teacher positions and one
    K-6 library media specialist position.

MIDDLE SCHOOL REDUCTIONS:

  • Foreign language classes eliminated.
  • One industrial technology teacher position, one 7-12 library media specialist position and 1½ art teacher positions eliminated.
  • Physical education credits will be offered at the middle school for eighth-grade students only as part of a two-year reduction plan to reduce one physical education teacher position by 2015.

HIGH SCHOOL REDUCTIONS:

  • One French teacher position and one Spanish teacher position.
  • Two JROTC positions.
  • One industrial technology teacher position, one family and consumer sciences position and one guidance counselor position.

ADDITIONAL REDUCTIONS:

  • Custodial service will be reduced to a rotating team schedule.
  • Staff reductions include five custodial positions.
  • All extracurricular and co-curricular supplemental contracts not required to operate the academic component will be suspended (a full list of these positions will be presented Wednesday evening).
  • Reduction of one athletic director position.

Contact Cindy Leise at 329-7245 or cleise@chroniclet.com.