ADAMS TOWNSHIP — Teaching positions and high school busing are two areas at risk if Clinton-Massie schools do not obtain additional funds from district taxpayers within the next couple elections.
Scheduled already for the upcoming school year is an increase in pay-to-play rates from $100 per sport to $200 per sport.
During Monday’s board of education meeting, board President Jeremy Lamb read aloud what he called “quite an extensive list” of proposed cuts. The list is meant to respond to a request from voters — who recently have turned down two proposed tax issues — to better understand what the requested tax revenue would be used for, said Lamb.
As reported in NJ’s Tuesday edition, it was announced Monday that a tax issue will again be placed on the November ballot to ask for a revenue increase. Lamb said the type of levy and the amount requested are yet to be determined.
The list of proposed position and service cuts includes, in part: three middle school English language arts teaching positions; a reduction in force (RIF) of the agricultural education position (the position would be offered to Great Oaks for school year ’19-’20); an RIF of the high school computer teaching position (the position would be offered to Great Oaks for school year ’19-’20); and, as noted above, elimination of high school busing.
Though most of the cutbacks on the list are slated for the 2019-20 academic year, the busing change could occur sooner.
“We are already looking to start to re-route the district where high school busing could be cut as early as January of 2019,” the board president said.
The list also includes “zero balance pay-to-play,” defined as all activity expenses will be covered by player fees. Current costs have not been calculated, but as an example would likely be about $500 per sport depending on participation levels, according to the wording in the list.
The list contains an RIF of five aide positions; an RIF of one industrial arts position; an RIF of one elementary school art position; an RIF of one high school music position; reduce the counseling staff by one; and an RIF of one high school physical education position.
Listed also are an RIF of the director of curriculum and instruction position; no field trips; a reduction of away scrimmages; no implementation of safety upgrades; all overtime must be approved by the superintendent; and a facilities rental fee increase and affiliated youth sports fees imposed.
The list states that spending on building maintenance and outdoor grounds could be reduced to need only. “The current state of disrepair of the track will not allow CM to host any track meets until repairs are made,” adds the list printout.
A pay freeze would be put into effect for all staff in the 2019-20 school year.
One proposal — to maximize intake of open enrollment students to increase revenue — was discussed Monday, and appears headed for a board vote at a special meeting in June.
Superintendent Matt Baker said there are 176 applications for open enrollment, which is up by 43. Five current open-enrollment students won’t be returning, so there is a potential for 38 new students with accompany revenue. But if the district adheres to its current policy, it can only admit one new student, said Baker.
Lamb suggested the policy be changed which will bring in additional revenue to the district, about $6,000 per student. Because of the number of potential new students, an additional teacher could be hired to address concerns about the effects on student-teacher ratios, said the board president.
In Lamb’s opinion, the student-teacher ratio can be improved by accepting the 38 new students while adding to the teaching staff with the new funds. Ten of the potential new students would be in the first grade, several in the fifth grade, and the rest spread out across the grades.
In personnel items at the meeting, high school Principal Barrett Swope is resigning, as are teachers Riley Beck, Aubrey Corcoran and Amy Wray, plus aide Rebecca Syman. Teacher Diana Phelps is retiring.
High school art teacher Kristin Walker received a Consistently Making A Difference (CMAD) Award from the board. Baker said Walker has a passion for students and art. The recent congressional art competition “was a great showing for Clinton-Massie,” the superintendent said, adding the CM artwork on display was “just extraordinary.”
A number of the congressional art competition participants also were recognized at the board meeting.