Brandywine cuts staff to balance district budget

Published 8:53 am Tuesday, July 1, 2003

By By JOANNA ARNETT / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- The Brandywine Board of Education voted to lay off 10 staff members and eliminate several other positions at Monday night's preliminary budget meeting at Brandywine High School.
Seven staff members were let go earlier this year. Staff members who are being let go will be notified today.
The board is considering providing two weeks of severance pay to laid-off staff members, and the board plans to consider a severance recommendation at its next meeting.
The board also approved a $11.8 million preliminary budget for the 2003-2004 school year. The budget is based on the 1,600 expected student turnout.
Trustee Michael Armstrong was the only one who voted against the budget, expressing that he didn't like the fact that the district had ignored board policy on passing the preliminary budget by the second meeting in April.
However, state laws only require preliminary budges to be in place by June 30, which the board met.
Sweeney explained that he didn't feel it was wise to pass the budget until after the bond issue was resolved, since its passage would affect the amount of cuts the district would have to make. He also told the board that he felt it should revisit the board statute that requires passing the preliminary budget in April.
In other news, the board also agreed to hold off on purchasing $36,000 in new computers for Merritt Elementary to make up the difference in retaining four out of eight Title 1 aides next year. The district lost $41,844 in state aid for its Title 1 program.
Title 1 is a federal program that supports reading development at a young age. The program basically pays for 8 assistants to students in classes, mainly in the third and fourth grades.
The district authorized the sale of bonds, to go on sale Aug. 1. Sweeney advised selling them as soon as possible, as the market appeared favorable.