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Cassopolis Public Schools face possibility of cuts and layoffs

Published 1:51pm Thursday, May 6, 2010

By AARON MUELLER
Cassopolis Vigilant

Just days after Niles Community Schools and Brandywine Public Schools announced they are laying off teachers for the coming school year, the Cassopolis Public School Board is discussing laying off two teachers in an effort to trim $1 million from its budget for next year.

The move would save the district $120,000 according to superintendent Gregory Weatherspoon.

The move is just one of many discussed at the April 26 school board meeting.

Other possible cuts, according to Weatherspoon, include eliminating two secretary positions for a savings of $77,000; one utility position, $56,000; two custodians, $53,000; and one health room paraprofessional, $20,000.

The district is also considering using an expedited building schedule for the new Sam Adams Elementary School building, which would allow the K-6 building to be finished by August 2011 and would save the district between $300,000 and $500,000. The new schedule would call for kindergarten through fourth-graders to attend Squires and fifth- and sixth-graders to attend Red Brick School this coming year, while Sam Adams is being worked on.

The athletics budget may also see a 5 percent cut, saving the district $13,500.

Weatherspoon said there also will likely be a freeze of current salaries for teachers and administrators as well.

It’s difficult in making budget decisions when it is so unclear what kind of funding public schools will see from the state, according to Weatherspoon.

Michigan slashed school funding by $165 per student this academic year and further cuts of $225 per student or more could be on the way.

“We haven’t heard anything from the state yet,” he said. “We don’t know what kind of hit we’re going to take.”

As for now, Weatherspoon wants the district to prepare for the worst as to not have to make further cuts during the school year.

Weatherspoon mentioned the school currently has $400,000 in fund equity that he feels may need to be used to plug the budget shortfall.

Action is expected to be taken on the budget proposals at the May 10 board of education meeting. Cassopolis must have a finalized budget by June 30.

“That’s the D-day,” Weatherspoon said.

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