Archived Story

Niles to propose teacher cuts ‘across the board’

Published 11:17pm Monday, September 12, 2011

Niles Community Schools officials reviewed what seems to be a dismal financial outlook Monday, announcing they are looking into reducing teacher salaries “across the board.”
The board of education meeting took place while negotiations were ongoing at the Westside Administration Building. Board members went back into negotiations following the end of Monday night’s meeting.
Supt. Richard Weigel offered board members a financial presentation that highlighted what past reports had already made clear: the district’s expenditures are exceeding its revenues.
What’s being spent is outweighing what’s coming into the district by $2.9 million for the 2011-2012 school year. That puts the projected ending fund balance at 2.83 percent.
“The board has said they want (the fund balance at) 5 percent,” Weigel said during the presentation. “Five percent is nine days of average (operating) expenses. It’s not enough.”
Projecting into the future, should state allowances to school districts remain the same and the current situation remain unchanged, the district would face a $3.5 million deficit. By the 2013-2014 school year on the same scale, that deficit could be as much as $8.9 million.
Weigel outlined a $4.1 million loss of funds in the 2011-2012 year, funding that included revenue no longer available such as that of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Edu-jobs funds, federal grants and state reductions in funding; last year’s drop in enrollment; and higher retirement and insurance costs to teachers.
In response to those lost revenues, Weigel identified line items cut within the district in personnel, supplies and purchased services — cuts that amount to $1.5 million.
The frightfully dramatic projections are based on the current fiscal situation as is, but Weigel informed the board that things could get even worse.
“Today I got some bad news there’s a possibility we may be losing another $200 (in state funding) per student next year,” Weigel said.
That comment drew gasps from the attendants at the meeting, many of whom were teachers.
Not entirely a surprise, Weigel said the current financial crisis has been ongoing for some time.
But for the district to continue in its projected direction with no changes to expenditures, Weigel said, “we put ourselves in a very, very dangerous place.”
To further battle the loss, Weigel said new programs in the district, including the Niles New Tech Entrepreneurial Academy, all-day kindergarten options, home schooling and the WAY online learning program have brought preliminary enrollment figures up from last year. Doing so will help bring revenue into the district; an estimated $350,000 is coming into the Niles district through new Schools of Choice students this year, the report stated.
New Tech’s construction was completed through a sinking fund, which cannot be applied to salaries.
Still, Weigel said, with rising retirement costs for teachers and salaries and benefits accounting for 78 percent of the total school budget, “we must reduce total compensations costs across every employee group in a fair and equitable manner.”
The proposal has been put to the teachers’ union. How it works is teachers, who operate on a step program — which allows for an annual increase in salary — would see the top of the pay scale increase from 13 years to 25 years.
That would decrease the annual increase from 3 percent to 1.5 percent each year.
“We are proposing a cut in teacher salaries across the board,” Weigel said.
Following the presentation, school board President Jeff Curry stated the outline is the reality of what the district is facing.
“I certainly appreciate everyone’s thoughts and emotions on this. I have a wife who’s a teacher, a daughter who’s a teacher. I understand,” he said.
A number of comments followed the presentation.
One mother voiced her concerns over the 29-student class size in her son’s class at Ballard Elementary School.
In response, Weigel tried to quell those concerns citing research that showed it was “quality of instruction, not class size,” and said Niles had the best quality teachers.
That’s when things became contentious.
Niles attorney Christopher Lynch spoke out following Weigel’s response asking how he could claim the district had the best quality teachers while proposing to cut their salaries.
He also questioned whether or not the board was following the Open Meetings Act, saying at times meetings seem almost scripted.
“It’s almost like it’s a staged deal,” he said. “We don’t want that.”
He expressed concern that no member of the board had any questions or began any discussion about the presentation once it was over.
“I ask you please, please have a robust and open discussion,” Lynch said.
Lynch’s wife is vice president of the teachers’ union.
“I don’t disagree with you at all; I think we have to have a very transparent process,” Curry said. He added the board plans to get more information out to the public.
“We’re at the precipice,” Curry said. “We are at the precipice and everyone needs to understand that.”

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  • Dave Fisher

    Chris Lynch is spot on, things have been “Scripted” for many moons. The only thing that ever changed was the puppet master, and that has been the same until Law retired.

    Wasn’t Curry NOT reelected? Somebody else then resigned and he got “appointed” back on. That didn’t appear pre-arranged at all either. (low whistle)

    Maybe the current situation will spur a little more open and unique comments from the members of the board. It most likely would reassure folks that voted for them.

  • NilesViking

    The following clip is from an article in the Herald Palladium today – the question is, why is funding in Niles so desperate that the board wants to cut teachers 16 percent, on top of quadrupling what they pay for their health insurance, but Lakeshore can give their teachers a modest raise? Niles, like Lakeshore, has a history of overachieving when it comes to student success. Who with any talent is going to want to teach in Niles?
    Also Monday, Vujea said the board and the Lakeshore Education Association have agreed on a new one-year contract.

    The teachers agreed to a 1.5 percent salary increase, Vujea said. That was beneficial to the district’s finances, and made sure all teachers got at least some pay increase, she said.

    “They’ll be paying more for their insurance, they’re paying for their retirement now,” Vujea said. The agreement “will help them transition” to paying more for those things, she said.

    Lakeshore engages in year-round bargaining with the union so there are never any surprises, Vujea said. She said the teachers have been “incredibly cooperative.”

    “They have worked so hard” in the classrooms, Vujea said. “Student achievement shows they are doing a phenomenal job.”

  • PublicEd

    I have great concerns about the educational leadership at Niles Community Schools. I don’t know the exact figure, but I’d love to know how many administrator’s the district currently has? I find it interesting they continue to throw threats at the teaching staff and request concessions yet never mention the total dollar amount spent for salaries, benefits (including all the additional compensation, i.e. annuities, car allowance, higher education tuition reimbursement, ect.) on all the administrative staff. As a parent, I find it very disconcerting the Board of Education believes the only way to make substantial cuts is to take things away from the teaching staff who are directly reponsible for educating the future of this community. How many administrator’s do we need Mr. Weigel? Wouldn’t it be more astute of you to look at making cuts elsewhere? After all, isn’t that what a school district is all about, the students education not the administrative staff’s pocketbook?

  • GregOToole

    First I would welcome all to attend the board meetings; we would love to hear from you in person!

    Second, PublicEd, the information you seek is available on the school district’s web page at the following address:

    Please feel free to explore for the answers you seek. If you still have questions, please come to the next board meeting and we will be happy to answer your queries.

    Districts develop in a variety of ways. How a districts present financial situation came to be has been generated and modified for many years. Districts like Lakeshore have a much different tax base and district composition. Sometimes comparing one against the other is like comparing apples to oranges. Every district is required by law to be transparent with their budgets. If you would like to compare, you can visit each district’s individual website for the information.

    We are all involved in this process because we want the best for our children and the growth of our community. Everybody loses when the only energy that is expended is negative and derogatory.

    Tough decisions have to be made at times and it is never easy to do. We are trying to bring new perspectives and opportunities to the district so we may attract more students to the district. A district is only compensated by the number of students attending. If we want to get to the point where we can pay our teachers a better rate, then we will have to everything possible to maintain our budget and attract great students and their families to Niles.

    I challenge everyone to join us in the future of Niles Community Schools and leave the negative rhetoric behind for the benefit of the kids.

    Thanks for sharing, we are listening and hope to see you all at the future meetings and volunteer opportunities.

  • PublicEd

    Mr. O’Toole:

    Thank you for directing me to this information, however it didn’t make me feel better regarding this situation. In Niles Public Schools Financial Statements, June 30, 2010, the final projected budget had a deficit of ($1,518,250). However, the actual came back with a deficit of ($40,893). I’m not a math teacher, but that is quite a difference, $1,477,357. Makes me wonder about your current deficit figure of 2 million plus. Exaggerated?

  • GregOToole

    Thanks PublicEd for looking.

    Not exaggerated but projected and then managed by making cuts and adjustments throughout the budget year to be physically responsible.

    Schools operate on a budget year that begins on July 1st. The State of Michigan works on a budget year that begins on October 1st. Schools must project their budgets based on the best known information at the time they set their school year. They have to consider the worst case scenario, otherwise they could find themselves in an unrecoverable deficit. Schools also are required by law to have balanced budgets.

    If the projections that are made based on best available information change for the better, that’s great. However if they are worse then we have to compensate with fund equity funds that are already below what should be maintained. These funds also reduce the need to obtain loans to make ends meet during the time between the State’s budget year and the school’s.

    We try to do everything possible to reduce the impact on everyone. But in order to remain in business and provide a great education to our children, uncomfortable adjustments must be made.

    None of the current negotiation information and offers are available for public inspection. That is for the teachers union and the school system to negotiate in closed sessions. In the final hour we will try to come up with a plan that will have the best possible outcome for everyone concerned.

    It is our intent to be forthcoming with our efforts and as prudent as possible to insure many years of prosperous education for Niles Community Schools.

    Thank you for your continued interest and support.

  • Community_Advocate

    Mr. OToole, it sounds to me as any disagreement with your ideas qualifies as “negative rhetoric”. You are definitely identifiable as a politician. Here is another of your quotes that is an absolute political classic: “Everybody loses when the only energy that is expended is negative and derogatory.” Why don’t you listen to the people you are representing instead of chiding them for being upset at the predicament that you as an elected official have helped to create? Are these comments of yours on this message board more of your scripted rhetoric?

    Please explain exactly how we will attract students (or should I say attract more dollars, since as you put it: “A district is only compensated by the number of students attending”) to our community when we start to lose our talented teachers as they search elsewhere for jobs that will better reward their talent? We are indeed on a precipice as the article above states. We are about to teeter off the precipice and start the fall down to becoming a district that parents will not want to send their children to. That, in turn, will likely lead to falling prices for housing in our market as we become an area that no one wants to live in because of the poor quality of our schools. This will affect everybody in our community, not just those with children.

    Your board members are quick to point out that these are just business decisions when talking about monetary issues and salary cuts, but then you pull out the “but its for the good of the children” card when you try to play on peoples’ emotions to support your ideas. Well, losing talented teachers is not going to help our children in their education. Is selling our kids’ education to the lowest bidder the best thing for our children?

    I’m sure a majority of the teachers who live in our district would likely be willing to take a pay cut to help out the district, (as they have previously) but if what I have heard you are proposing is true, then you should call it a mortal wound instead of simply a cut.

    Why is it that the onus is placed entirely on the employees? Did they create the current predicament? Why aren’t you challenging the entire community (or state for that matter) to step up? Are there not ways to generate more revenue? Why would you expect teachers to not consider it a business decision to move on to a district where they are better compensated for their time and talent?

    I challenge you to advocate for something other than a bottom dollar education which leads to a bottom dollar community.

  • NilesViking

    Community Advocate is spot on. I would next expect Mr. Curry to come on here and like Mr. O’Toole, say that any disagreement with the board or superintendent is “negativity”. I cannot do what Mr.Lynch did – stand before the board and take issue with their actions. He has nothing to lose. I am an employee of Niles Schools and disagreement with the current superintendent will bring repercussions. If you say that’s not true you just don’t know. I am stuck with this forum. Mr. O’Toole’s response to my question was absurd. I asked, “why can Lakeshore give teachers a very modest raise, while Niles says we must cut them 16% and quadruple their personal health insurance costs

  • NilesViking

    Mr. O’toole’s response was gobbeldy gook about different districts having different tax bases, yada,yada, which he went on to contradict later in his letter, acknowledging that general funding is only a function of how many students you have and HAS NOTHING TO DO with your tax base. And of course, I am negative for asking.
    I will answer my own question. This superintendent has pushed over a number of pet projects, such as Eastside school, New tech, WAY program, etc., consistently blaming the previous administration for bad decision making. The board follows blindly. We are spending lots of money on these things. Did we pick up some schools of choice students – sure. Did we pick up enough to justify the huge costs? Now that would be analysis worth seeing. Do you deny, Mr. O’Toole, that while we have cut teachers, and are now asking for huge givebacks from teachers in salaries and benefits that we have, in fact added administrative positions this year (New Tech Dean, Cedar Lane principal)? In the budget transparency pages a little math reveals that administrative costs are INCREASING as a percentage of the total budget. I would be happy to show you the math if you like. Iknow, Iknow, I am being negative.

  • GregOToole

    Community_Advocate and NilesViking, these forums are designed for discussion of issues. All too often they are used to take pot shots and defame. This is the negativity that I refer to. I am open as well as our current board and superintendent to differences of opinion. That’s where we approach collaboration on issues. Everyone has an opinion on an issue and that is not wrong nor right, it is simply an opinion. When that opinion is simply to take shots at those who differ in your opinion, then it’s negative and counterproductive.

    I purposely don’t use a pseudonym here so that everyone that reads my opinion knows who’s talking and I’m not hidden by the cloak of anonymity. I am elected to the position I occupy on the school board but that does not make me a politician, at least in the context that it was used. I am simply a parent and tax paying member of the Niles Community that was not happy with the course our school system was taking. As such I took steps to be part of the process, instead of sitting around and being unhappy.

    I approach my position with common sense much as all of us do with our own household budgets. The district has taken steps to conserve in the past in areas that had the least amount of impact they could, i.e. food services, transportation etc. We also have cut in areas as much as we can to avoid impact to the quality of the education we provide.

    Community_Advocate you said: “Your board members are quick to point out that these are just business decisions when talking about monetary issues and salary cuts, but then you pull out the “but its for the good of the children” card when you try to play on peoples’ emotions to support your ideas. Well, losing talented teachers is not going to help our children in their education. Is selling our kids’ education to the lowest bidder the best thing for our children?” This is also the same ideal that our teachers and their union use to support their side. Are we to dismiss the argument as fictitious for one, but to believe it for the other because it’s true?

    We are all in this for the quality of the education that we provide. One group for the pride they take in their cherished profession and the other for providing the environment for it to be practiced.

    The projects that are currently being developed and placed into practice are aimed at providing a variety of educational opportunities while at the same time attracting others to our district and community. Is there always an instant return, no but over time the hope is there will be some relief. The WAY program for example, is a zero profit/cost the first year, but for year two it is over $100,00.00 profit and year three over $250,000.00. There is also conversation in progress for a partnership with LMC that could yield a lease from them of space in Eastside for some of their projects. More importantly opportunities, for our students, in their future education. Just recently our district received a substantial commitment from Saint Mary’s College for scholarships for many years to come. This is just the beginning of the development of partnerships that bring rewards for the district, our community and our kids.

    We are faced with many economic issues. All districts are different for many reasons. We have our own set of problems, no matter where or how they started, we still have to face them. Employee costs, including benefits, wages and retirement packages occupy more than 70% of the district’s budget. These costs continue to rise and the state continues to reduce the compensation to schools.

    Just like we set our budgets at home, if I only have a hamburger helper budget, I can’t always put steak on the table. If my house utilities go up or I buy a car, I have to find the money somewhere. A school district is no different though much more complex.

    I don’t profess to be an expert, I’m just a member of our community trying to help in whatever way I can. I appreciate any input as long as it is directed in a manner that is constructive and not demeaning to anyone personally.

    You know who I am. I welcome your participation at our open board meetings. Hopefully we all can work together toward better days.

  • NilesViking

    Don’t get rabbit ears, Mr. O’toole. You are the one who ran for public office and started writing on a forum. NO ONE has taken any “potshots” at you personally, that I can see here – just at your positions – which is what the forums are for. Unfortunately, the real “negativity” here is what is emanating from our board of education in their approach to certain groups of employees. It is sounding more and more like Governor Snyder’s “shared sacrifice” – you know, where only certain people do the sacrificing. I asked why Lakeshore could afford to deal with their teachers equitably, as their percentage of budget that goes for salaries, benefits, insurance, etc, is virtually the same as Niles, who seems completely unable to do anything but ask for huge givebacks and has no money. I got no answer. I asked if you denied that administrative costs and numbers were increasing in Niles, at a time when teachers and others are being cut. You did not. I speculated on why Niles has no money – you did nothing to alleviate that, other than say that someday the WAY program might make a profit. These are your positions – not you personally. Your condescending answers about hamburger helper do nothing to justify the boards positions. The item under debate is not how much money we have to spend – it is how we are using what we have.

  • concern

    How is it, that the high school can do all this updating and experimenting with new tech, when financially you can’t afford to pay your teachers? If financial issues were known, maybe you should have raised money to continue the current education, that you say is ran by wonderful teachers, instead of starting something that wasn’t necessary in the first place?! Why would any teacher want to waste their well earned education on Niles High School if, by the time you are finished with all the proposed cuts, they could make more money being a manager at McDonalds?! Way to show the teachers support!! How does this pay cut help the community? Cut teachers pay and they can’t afford to work for us, they lose their home, and have to move. More foreclosures, loss of jobs, loss of taxes, due to loss of homes. Parents end up pulling their kids out of school because of lack of teachers. So you lose your head counts on count day. Seems to screw you over in the long run!

  • Community_Advocate

    “Just like we set our budgets at home, if I only have a hamburger helper budget, I can’t always put steak on the table. If my house utilities go up or I buy a car, I have to find the money somewhere. A school district is no different though much more complex.”

    This comment is very telling in regards to Mr O’Toole’s attitude toward teachers. In Mr. O’Toole’s remarks quoted above, he is suggesting that quality teachers are luxuries like Steak and what we need now is Hamburger Helper teachers. Notice he makes no mention in his analogy of finding ways to lower his utilities through conservation efforts or maybe NOT buying that car – he goes straight to cutting salaries.

    Here is an eyeopener for your Mr. O’Toole…Good teachers are NOT a luxury. Good teachers are more important to a child’s education than a 72 degree classroom. Perhaps the thermostat could be lowered and everybody could wear sweaters.

    I do suggest you “find the money somewhere”. That is why you are on the board. Be creative and innovative. Reach out to the community. Find more people like Tommy James willing to donate funds. Press the state and the automakers who got us into this mess. Look for ways to increase revenues and cut operating costs.

    Explain to the community all the ways you have tried to fix the current crisis other than just poring over the numbers and deciding that teachers should take the brunt of the punishment. The real question is: why are teachers being made the scapegoat?

    I am not a teacher, but I do know several of them. Just like any other profession, there are some better than others. But, UNLIKE most other professions, our teachers can have a profound and lasting impact on our kids and our community. Our teachers have been asked lately to do so much more with so much less that they really do need our support.

    I agree with you Mr. O’Toole, that neither side should try to play the emotional “it’s for the good of the children” card. However, after all the buildings, buses, band practices and bond proposals, a child’s education is most dependent on the interaction between the teacher and the child. Our community should place a very high priority on hiring and keeping the best teachers to help ensure that this most basic interaction is the best that we as a community can give.

    In our budgets, teachers should be given a top priority over utilities and technology.

  • concern

    Well said Community_Advocate!!!

  • GregOToole

    Thank you all for your input. I look forward to your involvement in helping us make the most of our resources for the future of our schools.

    The funds spent on the improvements at Eastside and the High School for New Tech where not taken from the general budget but fro sinking funds and a recent QZAB loan that was acquired wih zero intrest. None of these funds are able to be used for salaries. Only for building improvements an technology.

    These improvements were done to settle some classroom size issues and moreover to provide a variety of learning enhancements forthe teachers and the students. They also keep our district among the very best in the area.

    We are constantly looking for ways to stay competitive and maintain the standard that we have come to know.

    Thanks again for your candid responses and I hope to see you all at the next board of education meeting.

  • Rational and Objectiveo

    I have read these many comments, some make no sense whatsoever. Telling a School Board member to have teachers turn their heat down and wear sweaters. Have you challenged the teachers with that? I can’t even imagine how it would be received for a School Board member to walk into a classroom and ask the teacher to turn their heat down. And then the absurd challenge to the Board to “raise money somehow.” the Board is trying to increase revenue by decreasing costs for employee benefits. If you followed the above article closely, Lakeshore Superintendent, Vujea stated teachers are paying their own retirement now and insurance. Both of which Niles teachers are not. Lakeshore teachers now have a $2,000.00-$4,000.00 deductible on insurance. So if you’re going to compare, I’m sure the contract could be settled immediately if the teachers agreed to. They too would probably realized a raise.

  • Rational and Objectiveo

    The comments about “new” administrators is also unfounded. The Principal at Cedar Lane is not a new employee and did not receive a pay raise with the position. The New Tech Dean is also not a new employee…no increase there either. The added PART-TIME A.D. and the Asst. Principal at Ballard are the only add ons. The A.D. has already started saving the District money. I’m sure if you attended a Board meeting, you could find out how and how much. Ask the Teacher’s Union Rep. if they work on Negotiations during their meetings or point out how many administrators our schools have. Teachers could have their raises….just do like Lakeshore and MANY other Districts and change insurance and pay for retirement. I urge everybody to be proactive and attend Board meetings. Ask your tough questions. I appreciate the tough jobs everybody has… On both sides of the fence. You just can’t expect the District to be irresponsible and write checks on money that isn’t there. And what a cop out to say you do go to the meetings for fear of retaliation. Not going to happen. That’s why you pay big bucks to belong to your Union.

  • Rational and Objectiveo

    Correction….you DON’T go to the meetings for fear of retaliation. The Union will protect you and I’m not really sure what you THINK can be done to you.

  • PublicEd

    I find all of these comments a little scary. If all of you read what’s been coming down from Lansing, you should know that EVERYONE working in public education is now contributing to their retirement. So, yes, Niles teachers do contribute. Additionally, the State is pushing through a requirement that ALL teacher’s pay a portion of their health insurance. Per what I recall reading in the news, some teachers are contributing between 5 – 10% of their gross for retirement as well as 10 – 20% of their health insurance premium. Niles so values their teaching staff, they now want to decrease their pay even more? I for one wouldn’t want to have my pay decreased by the State legislator’s for 10 – 15% and then have my employer take more. Guess Niles board members and administrator’s never want to see a bond pass. Mr. Weigel what percentage of cuts are you imposing for yourself and your administrative staff?

    Also, Mr. O’Toole to respond to your comment about the budget not being exaggerated, here’s a question. Per the posted Financial Statement, the dollar amounts I quoted were a comparison of the FINAL BUDGET not the beginning budget. I believe Niles amends their budget throughout the school year. Consequently, if the difference is because of the districts frugal spending throughout the year, shouldn’t the final budget reflect closer to the audited amount? Again, maybe exaggerating your expenses can justify your explanation for cutting teachers across the board? Additionally, I believe Niles taxpayers are paying for the funds deposited into your sinking fund, correct? At least that’s the way my tax bill reads. That QZAB money your mentioned might be interest free, but it has to be paid back, correct? Where is that money coming from? Please concentrate on what you are all supposedly there for, the CHILDREN of this community.

  • Community_Advocate

    Which do you suppose a teacher would prefer? Putting on a sweater or getting a pay cut? I was in school in the seventies during the coal miners strike and our school lowered the thermostats and turned off half the lights to conserve energy, so it not so ridiculous a suggestion. This is a perfect example of “finding money” as in finding other ways to save money instead of such a drastic cut in pay and benefits. Granted, the amount saved might be relatively small, but small amounts add up to greater amounts.

    It is discouraging to see a community treat their teachers in this fashion. I believe the outrage should be directed less towards teachers and more towards the reasons that costs are going up so much.

    This argument is basically one of values. I know others may disagree with me, but I truly believe that teachers are the backbone of a small community like ours. I believe that if we continue to make teaching our children less and less attractive as a career, then we as a community and a nation will start to suffer as good teachers choose other careers and college graduates decide that teaching is just not worth it. We really are starting down the path to “Hamburger Helper” education.
    I speak as an adult who was inspired by several different teachers and have found their inspiration invaluable.

    I know times are tough. I know a lot of people are hurting. I know there is a lot of waste in government. I know some teachers are not good at what they do. I am all for correcting these things. But during these tough times, we need to pay real close attention to what we are trimming from our budgets. Some things we just can’t skimp on. You get what you pay for. If we want a quality education for our children, (which in turn will attract people to our community), then we need to pay for the quality.

  • S.O.L.

    I too am concerned with the class size which is not to be confused with the teacher to student ratio which is calculated by staff in the school to students.The class sizes reaching 32 in many cases.This is a perilous development for our teacher and students,the teaching staff as you can imagine are only human and lets face it kids will be kids and we are of course talking about this generation of kids which can be demanding and rude at times.These teachers must leave frazzled and worn out,23 was the class size last year where will we be next year?An over worked teacher with these class sizes is not good,lets table the idea of pay just for a moment,regardless what you pay someone for their work load it does not change the fact the work load has increased by nearly 33 percent.This is inappropriate and in the end will be detrimental to the children.If you want to talk about proposals Mr O-Toole,PROPOSALS HAVE BEEN MADE.We parents have attended some of us have privately suggested things but nothing happens.What does happen is reopening East side.If you want a proposal I will give you one happily.The only equitable thing for our students is to shutter buildings,beginning with Cedar Lane,the classes can be taught in the H.S. gym or lunch room after school.This eliminates custodial staff,administrative staff,maintenance costs,utilities etc.,perhaps a lesson will be learned from this you get one shot to get it right and bad behavior will not be rewarded with a school of your own,besides what is the problem with teaching it at night at the H.S.?,shutter Oak manor and build a wing onto the Jr HS similar benefits as above,shutter East side for good and build a wing and some new parking! onto ballard,it is time for some reasonable things to be done.It is a hard thing to increase a class load and then ask teachers to take a pay cut,we must begin to consider other avenues and get the ball rolling,someone above stated to tighten your belt in hard times this is true but when you tighten your belt you refinance your home,you look for ways to reduce insurance you cut the cable bill,the phone bill,whatever but you absolutely do not reduce hours you are available to help your kids at the house and esentially by getting rid of teachers and expanding class size is what is being done.It is time to consolidate buildings and quit taking thi sout of the hind end of the students,teachers and community.Do your jobs sirs/madams and do the hard things that must be done.

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