MOUNT VERNON — The Mount Vernon City school board is holding a special work session on Thursday, Dec. 6, to give board members the opportunity to take another in-depth look into district finances and to consider what cost-savings measures need to be taken since the latest operating levy proposal was rejected by voters.
Prior to the election, Superintendent Steve Short said the district would have to make cuts before the school year is out if the levy did not pass, and more extensive cuts would be needed for the start of next school year. He said it might be necessary for the board to eliminate programs which benefit students but are not required by the state, such as vocational agriculture, industrial technology and all specials for kindergarten through grade eight.
“The purpose of the meeting,” said board president Margie Bennett, “is to discuss a variety of options and make some difficult decisions to maintain fiscal viability.”
“This is not a new issue,” Bennett continued. “Finances have been in the forefront for several years, and many difficult decisions have been made over the past five years to address fiscal concerns.”
The district has cut its expenses to the same level of spending as in the 2006-07 school year. It has reduced staff costs by more than $1 million in the past two years. Over the last four years, it has not replaced 25 teachers, has reduced specials in the elementary schools, staff salaries have been frozen for the last two years, employees are paying more toward their health insurance premiums. In addition, administrators have taken on extra duties previously assigned to positions not filled when someone left and some teachers are shared between the high school and middle school.
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