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Proposed GVSD Budget Calls For Elimination of 5 Teaching Positions

Board members were divided on whether to cut the positions, which would save the school district roughly $400,000.

Great Valley School District's proposed 2012-13 preliminary budget includes the elimination of five GVSD teaching positions, Superintendent Alan Lonoconus told the school board during a work session Monday night. The proposed cut would save the district $400,000 in the coming fiscal year.

The five teaching positions were cut in the proposed budget based on current enrollment, and do not reflect a program change, Lonoconus said.

Board members were divided on whether the five teaching positions should be eliminated.

"In the last two years, we're down 17 teachers. We're looking at numbers in our high school of 30-plus. ... I'm just really nervous about 17 over the last two years, five more this year, when our student population hasn't really decreased to the same ratio," board member Ellen Behrle said.

"Does the board think we should look elsewhere for [places to cut costs]?" Lonoconus asked at one point.

"I don't know where else we'd look," board member Bruce Chambers said. "When your benefits are rising 15 percent a year, we're going to reach a certain point in time where all we're doing is paying our employees and don't have money for anything else. … you're not going to come up with $2 million by looking at pencils and pens."

Board member Andrew Daga said that rather than cutting teaching positions, he would rather see that $400,000 come out of the school district reserve fund, since the school district normally overestimates how much it will need to take out of its reserves.

Board member Jenn Armstrong worried about adding an additional $400,000 to the already proposed $5.1 million in reserve fund use this upcoming school year. "We have to plan not only for this budget year, but for the years coming," she said.

It may not be possible to cut five teaching positions based on class size standards. After a discussion about class size guidelines that occured earlier in the meeting, board members indicated that they would like to reinstate the guideline for elementary school classrooms to be 22-26 students per class, not the current 22-28 students per class.

Lonoconus told the board that cutting the guidelines to 22-26 students might impact the 2012-13 budget, which district business manager Charles Linderman later confirmed. Linderman said that if the district holds to the 26-student cap in elementary school classes, the district may only be able to cut 2.5 or three teachers.

Linderman also reiterated Chambers' earlier point that teacher salaries and positions are the most pragmatic place to make cuts, as they make up the bulk of district spending. Most of the district's other estimated costs are close to operating cost already.

Trying to balance the budget by cutting smaller costs like paper and pencils "is like looking next to a parking meter for a quarter," Linderman said.

The school board will vote on the proposed 2012-13 preliminary budget at their next meeting on Jan. 17 at 7:30 p.m. at the district office.

On Jan. 31 at 7 p.m., the district will present the preliminary 2012-13 budget to the community at Malvern Borough Hall.

Amanda Mahnke January 12, 2012 at 04:48 PM
Hi citizenknow— here's what Lonoconus said at the meeting: "We're looking at, obviously, if we get some retirements like we did last year—obviously we're not going to get as many as we did last year—but the first thing we'll look as if we get some retirements is how we can rearrange our staff. I'd like to say we'll be lucky enough to get five or more retirements this year; that would make it a little bit easier as far as how we rearrange our staff. But if not, we'll be taking a look at where our enrollment needs are. And that means that in certain areas if we have to look at a furlough situation, then it would be a furlough situation."
Amanda Mahnke January 12, 2012 at 04:53 PM
Chimichanga, one such opportunity was actually discussed at the meeting—a sports advertising company. We'll have a short article up about it in the next few days.
Lisa Snyder January 13, 2012 at 12:49 AM
The school district started collecting activity fees this year for sports, not sure if there are other fees being collected at this point.
guest12 January 13, 2012 at 11:47 PM
Why not cut the $125,000 plus Public Relations Director instead. No class room impact, Do we need a six figure PR Director Keep bureacrats cut teachers How Stupid Call your School Board Directors & ask them why we need a six figure PR Director
Deidre January 16, 2012 at 12:25 AM
I have found change near parking meters a few times...not a very good example for me. Schools were built to Educate Students. This area should not be cut. Class Size was addressed in the 80's by a group of concerned parents. The class sizes changed and had parameters, it was good for children and teachers. In the 80's there was a 3rd grade with 29 students. A student left the classroom in tears and hid behind the school...No one missed him, not the teacher, not the aide......not until the frantic mother called.."my son did not get off the bus"!! This mother found her child and the parents Class Size Group was born, it was a powerful Group, the board took notice.

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