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Board cuts nearly $1 million

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MCHS, LMS and SCMS lose staff

By Stevie L. Daugherty

The Marion County Board of Education approved $975,000 in budget cuts for the 2009-10 school year during its regular monthly meeting last week. That's just shy of the $1.4 million in cuts needed to keep the school system in stable financial condition, with two to five years of budget cuts undoubtedly on the horizon.

A portion of those cuts was staff positions at Lebanon Middle School, St. Charles Middle School and Marion County High School. A math position and a tech-ed position were cut at Marion County High School. A physical education position and a math position were cut from Lebanon Middle School. And a language arts position was cut at St. Charles Middle School. Both middle schools and the high school also lost custodians, including one custodial position each at MCHS and Lebanon Middle and a half custodial position at St. Charles Middle.

According to Marion County Superintendent Roger Marcum, the cuts that have been approved will have the least amount of impact on students.

"As we all know, these are difficult economic times for everyone," he said. "Kentucky school districts are experiencing a significant reduction of both local and state revenue. The reductions in revenue require reductions in expenditures in order for Marion County Public Schools to remain financially stable. The reductions in expenditures for the 2009-10 school year will have the least impact on direct services to our students. The Marion County Board of Education, after input from the Marion County Leadership Team, have made these difficult decisions with MCPS student needs as their number one priority." 

According to Chuck Hamilton, school finance officer, the revenue for this year has been less than expected because of cuts in state funding and reduced motor vehicle tax and utility tax revenues. The district may have a $400,000 shortfall this year, which will mean spending out of the district's contingency fund to cover its 2008-09 expenses, he said.

The projected decline in revenue unfortunately meant letting some employees go and cutting back on some services and programs during the next academic year. The district also cut approximately $100,000 from salaries by not replacing retired employees.

2009-10 budget cuts

The first set is from the Section Seven allocations in the budget. Section Seven allocations are funds controlled directly by the board of education.

• MCHS Band, $5,000 (This is only a fraction of the total band budget.)

• 21st Century Learning Center, $75,000 (The district has received a grant to help cover costs at the center for the next few years.)

• Textbooks at MCHS, $65,000

• World Language, $68,000 (This is the Mandarin Chinese program being offered throughout the district.)

• Kentucky Incentives for Prevention, $12,000 (This is the district's portion of the funds for this program.)

• Extended school services, $20,000 (This breaks down to $1,000 at CES, $2,000 at WMES and $17,000 at MCHS.)

• Public relations, $15,000

• Copier, $84,000 (This will be moved to Section Six allocations, which are controlled by the site-based councils at each school.)

• Project Lead the Way, $10,000 (This is half of the amount budgeted for the program this year.)

• Transportation, $7,700 (Elementary schools only. Superintendent Roger Marcum said this will mainly impact field trips.)

• Flexible Focus $100,000 (Extended School Services allocations will remain.)

• Kaplan Prep, $30,000 (This is an ACT test preparation program for high school students.)

Staff reductions:

• Certified staff, $300,000 (Three positions at MCHS, two at Lebanon Middle School and one at St. Charles Middle School.) A math position and a tech-ed position were cut at Marion County High School. A physical education position and a math position were cut from Lebanon Middle School. And a language arts position was cut at St. Charles Middle School.

• Classified staff, $75,000 (One custodial position each at MCHS and Lebanon Middle and a half-position at St. Charles Middle.)

• District-wide staff, $110,000 (personnel director, reduction in the superintendent contract, driver training) 

2009-10 school calendar approved

The Marion County Board of Education approved the 2009-10 school calendar at its regular monthly meeting last week. The following is a brief snapshot of the calendar for the next school year:

• Wednesday, Aug. 5: Opening day for teachers.

• Thursday, Aug. 6: First day for students.

• Oct. 5-9: Fall break

• Oct. 28: Early dismissal at 1 p.m.

• Nov. 25-27: Thanksgiving break

• Dec. 21-Jan. 1: Christmas break

• Jan. 18: No school

• Jan. 27: Early dismissal at 1 p.m.

• Feb. 15: No school

• April 5-9: Spring break

• May 18: Last day of school for students. Early dismissal at 1 p.m.

• May 19: Last day of school for teachers

* Possible makeup days: President's Day Jan. 18, Spring break, May 20-21, May 24-28

 In other matters, board members:

• Approved the official superintendent contract, which was completed by the board's attorney, Grant Chenoweth. The contract is for a four-year term beginning July 1, 2009, at the beginning salary of $105,000 per year.

• Approved the salary schedules for the 2009-10 school year, which included a one percent raise for all employees.

• Approved the establishment of the certified position of teacher of deaf and hard of hearing along with that position's job description. However, the position is not going to be filled at this time.