During its April 17 meeting, Greenbush-Middle River board member Laurie Stromsodt made a motion to rescind Option #2, which the board approved at its March 27 meeting, and consider taking a look at Option #6. No one on the board seconded that motion. The board also officially approved four staff cuts.
Before making this motion to rescind Option #2, Stromsodt said, “I want to do it the same… We lost our way.”
Kilen responded that this was Stromsodt’s opinion and, in response to her request to look at the issue further, he said the district had been looking at it for the last three years. No matter what the district does, Kilen said, the board isn’t going to make everyone happy. Stromsodt said if the district doesn’t make any changes, it would so.
He responded how the board wouldn’t have a district at all if it chose not to make changes, adding how they don’t have time. Stromsodt said the district has money in the fund balance to provide the district time to educate people.
To review, the board approved Option #2 by a 6-1 vote, with board member Stromsodt voting against it. This option involved cutting four certified staff members–three teachers and one administrator– effective at the end of the school year.
At the end of the April 17 meeting, the board approved the cuts of elementary teacher Molly Rustad, social studies teacher Eric Mimnaugh, English teacher Monique Duray, and principal Michael Underwood. The board approved each by a 6-1 vote, and board member Stromsodt voted down all the cuts. Since Mimnaugh and Duray have tenure, they both have the option to appeal the decision.
When calling for the motions on these cuts, Kilen said he didn’t like doing it and took “no joy” in asking for it, but said the board had to move forward with it.
This Option #2 also involves combining and moving some classes and grades for the next school year. Each site will have its own elementary, including Greenbush housing a kindergarten to sixth and Middle River a kindergarten to fifth, and Greenbush will have all seventh to twelfth grade students.
GMR resident Verna Flaten questioned if the district was being fiscally responsible by going with Option #2. The district has a $400,000 plus deficit and this option would save the district a minimum of $292,264.19. At the meeting, the board and Jerome discussed the additional savings with this option, including cuts in support staff, custodial staff, food service, and clerical.
The next regularly scheduled GMR School Board meeting will take place on May 15 at 7:30 pm in Middle River.
To see more of this board report, read this week’s issue of The Tribune.