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02-21-06 Minster school board cuts principal, teachers

By Margie Wuebker
mwuebker@dailystandard.com

  MINSTER -- Minster Local Schools board of education Monday night approved a list of personnel cuts including a principal and seven teachers in the wake of projected budget shortfalls.



  The action will result in a savings of $551,773 spread over part of two fiscal years. The scheduled elimination of various supplemental positions is expected to add another $15,000 to the pot.

  Carl Brown, who has served as high school principal for six years, submitted his resignation prior to action on the reduction in force. It takes effect July 31.

  Brown told reporters he knew his post was among those targeted to be cut.

  "I decided to resign and look for an administrative position elsewhere," he added.   Superintendent Gayl Ray told The Daily Standard "A principal's position -- 3313 percent of the administrative team -- was part of the plan. Mr. Brown chose to resign."

  There are no plans to replace Brown, leaving current elementary school Principal Brenda Boeke to cover grades kindergarten through 6 and current middle school Principal Mike Lee to oversee grades 7 through 12.  

  Ray plans to assist the principals in overseeing the district's three buildings while continuing her superintendent's duties.

  Teachers cut include Marie Andre' Eiting (fifth-grade language arts), Chad Wells (seventh-grade math and social studies), Sue Collins (high school English and French II), Christie Homan (seventh-grade science and social studies), Karen Coverstone (half-time librarian) and Jeana Byers (half-time seventh-eighth grade Spanish). The action, which involves staff members with the fewest years of seniority, takes effect at the end of the current school year.

  In addition, the contract of Rita Larkin, keyboarding and business teacher, was non-renewed. She was a retired teacher who had been rehired.

  "This is not easy for the administration or the board," Ray said. "We are losing quality teachers -- teachers for whom I would gladly write letters of recommendation."

  Extended service days were cut for three employees. The employees and their extended time include agriculture production teacher Paul Winglewich, 40 days; family and consumer services teacher Anita Uetrecht, 15 days; and guidance counselor Pat Gavit, 10 days.

  "We can no longer afford a full-time technology coordinator," Ray said. "Therefore, the position held by Guy Kidder will be reduced to two days per week."

  Six assistant coaching positions will be slashed, with athletic director Bill Young and the head coaches working to identify those affected.

  The photography class will be incorporated into the high school art program and the supplemental yearbook photography contract will be eliminated. Ray expects to save money by using a commercial source outside the district to provide yearbook photographs.

  "We had promised to let everyone know by the end of February," Ray said. "Teachers on the list were notified last Thursday following classes. Formal letters could not be sent until the board took formal action."

  Ray and Tad Colbeck, president of the local teachers association, personally notified those targeted for reduction in force following classes Thursday afternoon.

  Board members met behind closed doors for nearly four hours following a Thursday night work session. The list of affected personnel -- identified as Tier I -- was discussed during the executive session.

  The possibility of additional Tier II and Tier III cuts was discussed during the session. However, no names have been placed on either list at this point.

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