BG students face extra fee PDF Print E-mail
Written by MARIE THOMAS BAIRD, Sentinel Education Editor   
Wednesday, 19 June 2013 09:41
The Bowling Green school district will add pay to participate this fall to all of its extracurriculars.
The announcement came at Tuesday's school board meeting.
According to Superintendent Ann McVey, the new policy will apply to any team, club or organization that requires a coach or adviser that gets paid a supplemental wage.
The public is invited to the next board meeting on July 16 at 5 p.m. to discuss pay to participate.
McVey did not have any information at the meeting on what students will be asked to pay.
The move is a direct result of the last two defeats of ballot requests for additional revenue from taxpayers.
According to district Treasurer Rhonda Melchi, the school system is looking at a $3.1 million spending deficit in June 2015.
"We can't just cut $3 million," Melchi stated.
It costs the district about $500,000 annually for the dozens of clubs and sports the district offers, Melchi told the board.
The combined revenue challenges brought on through unfunded mandates, funds being siphoned from public schools to non-public and charter schools, along with the levy defeats, has created "a perfect storm," McVey said.
Actions taken by the district this year are in answer to the vocal critics who questioned the district's need for new revenue prior to the 6.75 mill property tax request in May, which was defeated by a 2-to-1 margin.
Those critics, according to McVey, wanted the district to reduce administrators' and severance pay, control personnel costs and increase employee contribution for health care.
The district's response has been to eliminate one principal and an HVAC position, reduce the number of accumulated sick leave pay that can be received prior to retirement, have staff pay more toward health care, and freeze all salaries for the next year.
Savings expected in 2013-14 are $620,209 in addition to the savings of about $210,000 by not offering step increase to teacher salaries.
Postponing adding all-day kindergarten will save the district $196,247; eliminating the Ridge Elementary principal position, HVAC administrator and dean of students, $196,866; reducing supply budgets again, this time by 20 percent, $34,140; reducing two teachers at the high school, $146,800; reducing two building substitutes, $33,434; and reducing the time paid to a guidance secretary and a reading teacher, $12,722.
"If we continue to reduce teachers, we will eliminate programs," McVey stated.
The supply budget has decreased every year for the past seven years, added Melchi.
McVey pointed out these are significant internal cuts to address the district's fiscal crisis.
"We have very little place to go," McVey said.
Thus the pay to participate option.
McVey said the program possibly could impact field trips, student fees, parking fees, fifth-grade camp, elective courses, and the busing of students. Plus the athletics, clubs and organizations now offered.
Administrators are in the process of deciding how to implement the program.
"We see no other way," McVey said.
"Our students, our families are going to start feeling the defeat of the last two levies," she added.
In addition to the July 16 meeting, the board will schedule several public forums this fall to get community input on future reductions.
Board member Lee Hakel added she wants to hear from employees as well, and they can make their suggestions anonymously.
Also at the meeting:
•    Board member Eric Myers announced he will not run for reelection this fall. With 41 years in the district, first as a teacher, then athletic director, principal, assistant superintendent and board member, he's ready to retire.
"You're our archive of information," McVey told Myers.
•    Beth Krolak, technology coordinator, said Chrome books will be purchased this summer. One cart, with 30 books, will be placed at each grade 1-5, plus one cart per team at the middle school. The cost is around $200,000, she said.
•    The board recognized cast and crew members of the high school drama club who will be attending the International Thespian Festival in Lincoln, Neb., next week. The club will give one of 14 main stage performances while there.
•    The board accepted the resignation of Ashley Pace, language arts teacher at the high school, effective Aug. 18, and Dayna Vilk, special needs teacher at the middle school, effective July 8.
•    The board hired Michael Bechstein as middle school business teacher.
•    The board approved a reduction in force due to the closing of Ridge Elementary and the discontinuation of lunch servers at St. Aloysius School. One 10-month secretary, one head custodian, one playground monitor and two food service cashiers/workers were let go in accordance with the district's OAPSE contract. Those people can bid on other jobs in the district, per their contract.
•    The board hired Scott Seeliger as high school athletic director on a 4-1 vote.
Myers voted against the action saying having Seeliger serve as both varsity football coach and AD is too much for one person to manage. Myers was AD from 1982 to 1989.
Board President Ellen Scholl voted for the action, but said she was concerned that the perception from the community will be while the board is making cuts, it's maintaining athletics.

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