EDWARDSBURG — While many local school districts fairly regularly face staff and program cuts due to budget reductions, Edwardsburg Public Schools hasn't faced the possibility of teacher layoffs in nearly two decades.
But now, things have changed. Edwardsburg Schools must cut a least $1.5 million for the 2012-2013 school year and where those cuts may be made is causing controversy made visual by a standing-room-only audience at Tuesday's school board meeting.
The controversy is over the possible elimination of one teacher ... a band director.
"It doesn't make sense when the (band) program has two people and you're cutting half of it and 500 kids participate in it," parent Carla Keirnan told board members. One after another, parents and students spoke about the proposed cut. Superintendent Sherman Ostrander says he knows if cuts were made elsewhere, there would be just as much outcry from parents and students in those programs.DETAILS
Edwardsburg Public Schools is facing a $3 million deficit, to which Ostrander is tasked with making roughly half the cuts. No decision was made Tuesday, but it must be made by June. So far, custodial and secretarial staffs have taken concessions. Bus drivers agreed to a pay cut and resignation incentives have been offered to senior teachers.While Tuesday night's audience was focused on a band director position, a district librarian and part time business department position are also being eliminated.And, Ostrander alludes to the possibility more teachers could receive pink slips.