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05-12-04 Parkway board cuts $100,000 more from district’s budget

By Betty Lawrence

  ROCKFORD -- Parkway Local Schools board of education will shave $100,000 from the school budget by reducing the number of coaches, enlarging bus routes and not replacing a principal who left.

  The cuts made during Tuesday's board meeting are the last of budget reductions that included laying off teachers during an April meeting. Those cuts saved the district nearly $500,000.
  "And there will be no more cuts at this time," Superintendent Doug Karst said after the meeting.
  The elementary principal position that is now vacant due to the recent resignation of Michelle Duncan will not be replaced, board members decided. Those duties will be shared by the current administration, primarily by intermediate school Principal Mark Esselstein.
  Duncan has accepted a position as principal at Celina East Elementary School, effective next school year.  Also, there will be a reduction in the number of coaches by one in volleyball, boys and girls basketball, baseball, softball and track.
  Finally, the number of bus routes will be reduced from 15 to 14, leading the board to terminate the contract of bus driver Dennis Hinkle.
  "I was to stress that his contract was not renewed because we reduced the number of bus routes, not because of his performance," Karst quickly added.
  School officials began looking at ways to trim the budget last fall when the five-year financial forecast showed a deficit of $1.6 million by 2008.
  The district spent $450,000 more than revenue last year, and the projected overspending is nearly $400,000 this year.  
  On a positive note, school Treasurer Tammy Muhlenkamp reported in her revised five-year forecast that the original anticipated figures for overspending this year are actually lower, at $258,000.
  "So we're slightly better than what was projected last fall," Muhlenkamp said.
  The district received slightly more in state funding and income taxes than was projected and is spending less on school supplies and equipment, all of which led to the savings, she told the board.
  "With all the budget cuts, it is improving our financial situation greatly. We don't expect any more cuts at this time and in the next couple of years, we're looking at not overspending our revenue," Muhlenkamp said.
  The board voted to review the forecast and bring it back to the June meeting.
  There was good news, however, for at least two Parkway teachers whose jobs were on the chopping block at the board's April meeting.
  The board rescinded its prior action to eliminate the position of high school business teacher Bill Wynk. An increase in student enrollment led the board to keep the 23-year teaching veteran on the payroll.
  Also, the layoff of elementary teacher Ashleigh Clay has been rescinded due to an unforeseen opening in the elementary area. The board also approved the creation of a half-time music position for next school year. Keith Bowers, a music teacher who was laid off due to staff cuts, will have first option to take the part-time position.


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