VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) - Vigo County school leaders have approved a budget that would save the school corporation $5.72 million in budget cuts.
We've been telling you about the proposed budget since last October. It includes three phases:
- Elementary school consolidation and closing McLean Alternative School
- Cutting pay for administrators
- Slowing the school corporation's bus replacement schedule
During Monday night's meeting, school leaders approved proposed budget cuts. Those cuts, along with the recently passed referendum would help the school corporation's deficit spending.
What was approved on Monday night is different from what was proposed in October. During the meeting, we learned that the estimated $1.5 million for a pause on bus replacement will now bring in $1.7 million.
The other change - instead of pay cuts for administrative staff, the board approved to reduce the number of permanent positions. That means instead of absorbing four administrative positions it will now be six.
There are three phases to the proposed cuts. Part of those includes consolidating elementary schools from 18 to 16...and then eventually 15.
It also includes consolidating both alternative education programs - Booker T. Washington High School and McLean High School.
These phases will save the corporation about $5.72 million.
School leaders say the meeting was just the first step to get things moving in the right direction.
"We need to rightsize our budget in order to fit our current enrollment. Tonight was one of the first steps in doing that, and so we're looking forward to the hard work of making sure that we have a sustainable school corporation moving forward," Director of Communications, Bill Riley said.
No elementary schools will be consolidated in the next academic year.
The corporation still has to create a task force to decide which schools will be consolidated.
Statement Regarding Alternative Education from Hank Irwin, the Vigo County School Board Presiden
"As we talk about budget cuts and rightsizing our budget, school closures inevitably came up. In Phase One, being voted on this evening, we will be voting on the combining of two alternative education programs, McLean and Booker T Washington High Schools. Of all the proposed budget cuts, we have had the most citizen feedback on this topic. I know I have, and if I can speak for the board, I know they have put a tremendous amount of thought into this decision. I want to reassure those in attendance that this decision being voted on is not simply a consolidation where we are moving students from one school and placing them at another school without changing programming. The goal of the board is to create an all new alternative education program for the Vigo County School Corporation. A transition committee will be created in order to successfully complete this task. Our goal is to take the best of both programs and use those ideas to create a new program that works for our students. In order to be successful we will need input – especially from those staff, students, and former students who know what has worked well in the past with these two programs. The transitioncommittee, if they so desire and in alignment with board policy,will also have the ability to create a new name for the alternative education program in the Vigo County School Corporation. While the program will be housed at Booker T Washington High School, the programming will not be exactly the same as in the past. The board strives to do not only what brings the best opportunity for students, but also what is financially responsible and I feel the proposal before the board this evening regarding alternative education does just that. "