Bellwood-Antis School Board cuts position, approves several transfers

BELLWOOD – Bellwood-Antis school board members Tuesday eliminated one position and approved numerous position transfers for the 2014-15 school year.

Board members decided to eliminate the position of network administrator effective July 1. The elimination of the position, formerly held by John Zong, will save the district $48,309.04, according to Superintendent Brian Toth.

Board members have been using a series of cuts and restructuring and a chunk of the district’s fund balance to whittle down a $959,533 deficit in the 2014-15 budget.

Reductions have also been made in most departments, including but not limited to the athletic department, buildings and grounds.

A $16,644,526 proposed final budget approved May 20 called for an increase of 6.31 mills in the real estate tax. That budget calls for using $527,583 of the fund balance to balance the budget. Final adoption is planned for June 24.

Board members are considering a taxable restructuring of bond issue 2010A, which could save the district more than $250,000 for the 2014-15 school year, business manager and board secretary Kimberly M. VanGorder said.

“We are not doing this to save money. We are looking at this to give us budget relief. If we don’t do this, we will use more of the fund balance and have no fund balance,” VanGorder said.

VanGorder said it is likely only about $300,000 of the fund balance will be need to be used.

Board members Tuesday agreed to create an additional second grade classroom for 2014-15 due to the large number of students in that grade and approved the transfer of Brittany Crain to that position.

Board members also hired Drew Moyer as middle school math teacher at a salary of $41,000.

Among the numerous transfers approved:

– Mary Kay O’Connor from home economics to a kindergarten position created by the retirement of Janice Geist.

– Lauren Wagner from a half-time middle school teaching position to full-time Grade 6 teaching position replacing Jamie Forshey, who was named to a newly created middle school/high school computer skills teaching position.

– Allen Wolfe from elementary instrumental music to the elementary general/

choral position that became available with the retirement of Jennifer Wright.

– Diane Hubona from literacy coach to high school English teacher.

– Elizabeth Berardinelli from first grade to the elementary reading intervention teaching position that became available due to the transfer of Christine Probst to the first-grade position.

– Heather Erickson back to her special education position in the middle school. In April, she had been transferred to the middle school language arts position.

– Kim Trostle from high school English to Grade 8 English.

– Tom Partner from high school English to Grade 8 English.

– Carol Bartlett to high school English. She had been teaching in both the middle school and high school.

– Susan Zong from librarian to high school English.

– Martin Halleran from middle school special education aide to high school special education aide.

Board members also discussed options for keeping the drivers education classroom program. Board members previously had considered dropping the program, which at the present time is a requirement for tenth-grade students.

Board members discussed increasing the fee for the program from $50 to $75 and possibly scheduling classes after school and on weekends.