Tuesday, December 26, 2000

Latin classes return

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer Contributor

        OXFORD — The Latin program at Talawanda High School will come back next fall on a trial basis as part of a $380,000 package that restores all but two cuts made last spring to trim expenses.

        The Talawanda school board last week reinstated cuts in building, library and technology budgets, which had been slashed 15 to 25 percent to help reduce the budget by $600,000. Teachers and administrators, whose salaries had been frozen, will get raises and substitute custodians will be used again.

        “I presented a very conservative list of (reinstatements) to the board. They were more generous,” Superintendent Susan Cobb said. “They reinstated all of the teaching positions, Latin I & II, and restored building budgets 100 percent for the coming school year.”

        Reinstating cuts is possible because voters last month approved a 6.5-mill operating levy after defeating two ballot issues. It will bring $2.86 million annually to the district.

        Treasurer James Rowan said bringing back most of the cuts shouldn't adversely affect the district's bottom line.

        In part, that's because of a pending bill in the legislature that would scale back the percentage of set-asides — a rainy day fund — that districts are required to maintain. Should the bill pass, the district would remain solvent through June 2005 or longer, Mr. Rowan said. Because of that, the board decided not to reinstate a $150,000 contingency fund.

        “We've got the money to do it,” board President William Vollmer said of the other reinstatements. “So we did. A lot were no-brainers — the library, technology and building budgets. Two math positions are coming back. We had a hard time with Latin but we had kids who wanted it and were involved in bringing it back.”

        The board agreed to offer Latin I & II each of the next two years, and depending on the number of students interested, possibly Latin III. After the 2002-03 school year the program again will be re-evaluated.

        The board decided to keep pay-to-play fees of $100 for the first sport and $50 for the second sport at the high school, and fees of $75 for the first sport and $25 for the second sport at the middle school. But a family cap of $200 per year will stay in effect.


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