BLANCHESTER — Nine staff members had their contracts suspended at Monday’s Blanchester School Board meeting.
Two teachers, four aides, and three bus drivers were affected by the suspensions made for financial reasons — cost reductions needed for the 2020-2021 school year.
The two teachers are 4-9 middle childhood teacher Julia Perry and K-12 intervention specialist Sandra Reedy. The four non-teaching aides are Rachel Cornes, Jennifer Chapin, JoAnna Powell, and Jennifer Sipple. The bus drivers are Angela Bishop, Della Patten, and Kira Kidd.
While the measure for the reduction was approved unanimously, board members expressed their regret in making the cuts.
“It’s not a good thing, but it is something that has to be,” said Board Member Mike Williams. Board President Kyle Wilson expressed similar sentiments.
The staff reductions come after an income tax levy failed to receive support on the November 2019 ballot. The levy was for an additional annual earned income tax of 1 percent over a five-year period.
Then Treasurer Darlene Kassner told attendees at an August school board meeting the levy was to help “pay the bills.”
At February’s school board meeting, Superintendent Dean Lynch told the board there was “no choice” but to make cuts
He cited three specific reasons: The projected budget deficit at the end of the 2022 fiscal year; the failure of the 1 percent income tax levy that appeared on the November 2019 ballot; and, Lynch cited a mandate by the Ohio Department of Education for “the school district to develop a plan to address its deficit in the fiscal year 2022.”
Also during the meeting:
• Lynch advised that the class of 2020 graduation will take place on June 28.
• Due to Gov. Mike DeWine closing Ohio schools for the rest of the school year, Lynch told the board May 6 would be the school system’s last day. Students will have work to complete and submit to teachers before that date.
• The board also approved charging $100 for Chromebooks for third- to eighth-grade students. Lynch said starting next year, for the first time, students will be able to keep the Chromebooks. They would only need to trade a Chromebook in every five years due to software being updated.
• The board approved of donating the following: gloves and masks to the Blanchester Life Squad; and hand sanitizer, sanitizing spray, and sanitizing wipes to Meadowbrook Care Center.