By Janie Southard
Mercer County Educational Service Center (ESC) is in line for some cuts from the state, but so far no amount has been specified.
"The state has done this before, and the big problem with it is that they cut from the beginning of the year and not from where we are now," ESC Treasurer Mary Brandon said following Thursday's meeting with the board of governors.
The money in question is actually a state grant for about $85,000 that the local ESC uses for the Mercer County Alternative School. The school mainly houses the suspension program for students who have been suspended from school and the opportunities school for at-risk students who are struggling to graduate from high school.
Local efforts are underway to find out from the state how much funding is in jeopardy. About 85 percent of funding for the local ESC comes directly or indirectly through the state.
While the state used to pay ESCs directly, it now filters funding through the individual schools using the programs. It is the ESC that creates and implements the gifted and special education programs, supplies psychologists and other services for the entire county school system.
Earlier in the year Celina City Schools cut $100,000 from the $220,000 it pays ESC for the alternative school. And other districts may be considering cuts to the alternative program due to their own budget crunches.
In the meeting notes, ESC Superintendent Eugene Linton said "a recent drop in high school opportunity students has caused great concern. This recent trend in low enrollment may cause the alternative school program to lose several thousand dollars this year."
The elevator project and other renovations to meet the Americans with Disabilities Act standards are finally completed, and the elevator has been inspected with the operating permit expected this month, board members learned.
The board accepted the resignation of Eric Temple, alternative school teacher, and of Jim Dippold, assistant superintendent.
Dippold, former superintendent in the St. Henry district, has helped out at various schools in various capacities through the ESC for the past couple years. He has indicated that he will be willing to offer assistance in the future on an as-needed basis.
Board members discussed notifying employees of payroll information through electronic mail beginning next year. Any employee not wanting to receive notices of deposit electronically may pick up his/her notices at the ESC office on payday.