The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

January 11, 2013

Ashtabula school cuts approved

By STACY MILLBERG - For the Star Beacon
Star Beacon

SAYBROOK TOWNSHIP —  The Ashtabula Area City School Board unanimously approved a $1 million cost-cutting plan Wednesday, for the 2013-2014 school year that includes the layoff of seven teachers, a reduction in hours for cafeteria and library aids and eliminates all ninth-grade sports, as well as other cuts.

The cuts were part of an expenditure reduction plan proposed by interim Superintendent Patrick Colucci. The layoffs include two regular education teachers at Lakeside High School, two regular education teachers at Lakeside Junior High School, an art teacher, music teacher and physical education teacher at the elementary level as well as the faculty manager at the junior high.

The library aid at both the high school and junior high will be reduced to a five-hour day, the central registration position will be reduced from 12 months to 10 months and the administrative assistant as the high school will be reduced from 12 months to 10 months as well. The cuts also include the reduction of two cafeteria aids at Michigan Primary, according to the plan.

The plan will reduce the student school day to state minimum standards, which is six hours (five and a half hours of instruction and a 30 minute lunch) for grades seven through 12; and five and a half hours (five hours of instruction and a 30-minute lunch) for grades kindergarten through six, according to the plan.

Also as part of the cuts, the district will operate without an assistant superintendent from January 2013 through June 2013, the gifted and talented coordinator position will be reduced from 81 days to 60 days and the district’s EMIS coordinator will be reduced from full-time to two-thirds and will become a shared service through the Ashtabula County Educational Service Center, according to the plan.

The district has already seen busing cuts and more will come in August with the reduction of five additional routes, according to the plan. The plan also calls for an increase in student activities fees for athletics and cheerleading. Fees will be increased to $250 per sport at the high school and $125 per sport at the junior high.

Board members also unanimously approved a motion to put an emergency property tax levy on the ballot in May.

In other business, board members accepted William Hill’s resignation as treasurer, effective March 2.

“Thank you for everything you have done for us,” board member Janine Trebuchon-Wertz said. “You will be truly, truly missed. You have been patient with us and stern when need be and just a dear, dear soul.”

Board President Christine Seuffert said it has been a real pleasure working with Hill.

“You are more than just a treasurer,” she said.

Assistant Treasurer Jackie Miranda will replace Hill in March. The board approved a resolution to hire Miranda at Wednesday’s meeting.

The board will meet in regular session on Feb. 20 at 6 p.m. in the large group instruction room at the high school.