Archived Story

Schools face tough decisions

Published 7:58pm Wednesday, May 16, 2012

With a looming deficit in the Cassopolis Public School District, administrators are facing some tough calls on how to eliminate the high figure for the next school year.
During Monday’s regular board meeting, the district’s director of finance Tricia Gaideski spoke to the board, saying that decisions will need to be made fairly soon before she can submit a budget to the state of Michigan by the June 30 deadline.
“We have a deficit of $1.3 million,” Gaideski said. “I offered the board a list of proposed cuts in April for them to decide on.”
Some of the proposed cuts in spending apply to athletics, extracurricular activities and the possibility of privatizing employment for secretaries, custodians and transportation.
“We may have to look at the option of increasing class sizes, among other things,” Gaideski said. “Everything is in limbo right now, but we’ll have to make some tough decisions soon.”
While cuts made to transportation and sports may cause disruption in the district, Gaideski says that alternatives, such as athletes paying to play sports, can be considered.
“None of this is because of poor spending on our (the district’s) part,” Gaideski said. “It’s due to the state and what they’re funding our district. We have to make these tough decisions.
“If we don’t, as some members of the board said, we won’t have a school,” she said.
Gaideski also said that if cuts to athletics and transportation occur, the state might listen to grievances from parents and students.
“The more the population screams for the state to help fund the district for specific things, legislators might listen more,” Gaideski said.
During the meeting Monday night, board trustee Scott Ward made a comment on the situation the district is facing, saying everyone involved has to work together to solve the problem.
“We have to do something quickly, or we will be in serious financial trouble,” Ward said. “These decisions affect all of us, but they need to be made.”
The next Cassopolis school board meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. June 11 in the Ross Beatty Jr./Sr. High School Media Center.

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