GMR School Board asks for and gets an additional proposed staff cut

 

During a March 4 work session, the Greenbush-Middle River School Board delivered a message to its Superintendent Larry Guggisberg: to not wait until next year to make additional reductions beyond the $310,260 in proposed cuts he presented, including two and a half teacher positions.

At its March 15 regular meeting, Guggisberg delivered on that message, highlighted by an additional proposed cut: eliminating a full-time English teacher position. This cut equals a $82,225 reduction and brings the total recommended cuts to $396,485.

“The Board indicated that we need to look at doing additional cuts. And my response to that is talk to one of the least senior English teacher in your school district,” Guggisberg said. “I indicated that I was going to be putting her name on unrequested leave of absence or the recommendation for an unrequested leave of absence.”

After hearing of this additional cut, the board didn’t take any formal action on any of the cuts at this meeting, but did express not wanting to wait too much longer before officially making them.

“I’m recommending that these reductions, that you don’t act on these reductions today,” Guggisberg said, “because again, I think what you need to do is listen to your sports board (first).”

Waiting until after a joint sports board meeting on March 24 with the Badger School District— a meeting that includes GMR Board representation—the board decided to hold a March 25 special meeting at 7:30 pm to potentially pass budget reductions at that time.

“The suggestion is to have that (joint sports board meeting), and then look at perhaps either a special meeting to make these budgetary recommendations formal,” Guggisberg said, “because right now there’s not a motion. I’m not recommending a motion or resolution (at this time).”

This recommendation to wait for the joint sports board meeting with Badger comes due to the recommended cuts related to elementary coaching and high school extracurricular activities. Recommended elementary coaching cuts total $7,380 and extracurricular activity cuts total $14,709.

Outside the proposed reduction of an FCCLA advisor— one totaling $1,358— the other extracurricular activity cuts would impact the Gator sports co-op with Badger. These cuts include one coach reduction in each of the following sports: football, girls’ basketball, wrestling, baseball, and golf.

Guggisberg said the board could wait until its April meeting too to act on the cuts he proposed.

“The point I’m getting at is there’s no rush,” Guggisberg said. “You’re on the right timeline, but the sooner you do it, if people are adversely affected, they have the option, that opportunity to go looking for employment somewhere else if they so choose.”

Board member Carrie Jo Howard expressed her thoughts on waiting until April to make these cuts.

“I don’t think we should wait till the April meeting to vote on this,” Howard said, at first suggesting a work session after the joint sports board meeting.

Board Chairperson Shane Kilen said the board would have to hold a special meeting, not a work session, in order to make decisions on proposed cuts. Then Howard responded that, yes, at a special meeting it could make decisions on these proposed cuts. Board member Brandon Kuznia agreed with that, as did Kilen.

“I think we should have a special meeting as soon as we can,” Kilen said. “If we’re not… going to decide on it tonight, we need to have a special meeting as soon as we can to decide on it.”

To see the complete story, read the March 24 issue of The Tribune in print or online.

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