Wednesday, March 07, 2001

Edgewood depending on levy

Loss would cut jobs, extracurricular activities

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer Contributor

        TRENTON — Edgewood High School students would have to find their own rides to school and all after-school sports and clubs would end in June unless voters approve a 6.9-mill levy the Edgewood Board of Education has put on the May 8 ballot.

        Superintendent Dale Robertson on Monday outlined a plan that cuts $1.56 million from the 2001-02 budget. Included in the proposal are elimination of a minimum of 20 teaching and 20 aide positions; cuts in custodial services, cafeteria workers and overtime; and immediate elimination of all field trips.

    • Supplemental contracts: $355,000
    • Aides: $225,589
    • Transportation: $75,000
    • Cafeteria: $62,000
    • Custodial services: $175,000
    • Substitute workers (maintenance, transportation, aides, secretaries): $87,976
    • Overtime: (maintenance, transportation, other) $39,525
    • Field trips: $16,000
    • Personnel: $524,910
    Source: Edgewood Schools
        Employees affected by next year's cuts will be notified in about a week, Mr. Robertson said.

        “Other changes may occur between now and the end of the school year,” Mr. Robertson said.

        Following a unanimous vote to suspend supplemental contracts — which pay for coaches, club sponsors, department heads and other extra-duty work — board member Sharon Anderson cast the only dissenting vote on Mr. Robertson's recommendation not to offer a pay-to-participate option.

        “My children are self-confident, secure,” Mrs. Anderson said through tears. “Everything they are ... in part is because of this school. To say "no' to extracurriculars, I can't do that.”

        Trenton parent Teresa Callahan said she was a strong supporter of after-school activities and the levy, but she urged members to turn down a pay-to-participate program.

        “It only serves to exclude children in our district. I don't think we want to exclude children,” Mrs. Callahan said.

        In the area of transportation, Mr. Robertson said only children in grades kindergarten through 8 who live two miles or farther from school would be transported next year. Now, any child who lives one mile or farther is offered bus service.

        “It's going to be a pretty drastic cut for elementary schools,” Mr. Robertson said, noting that Trenton, Bloomfield and some families in the Seven Mile Elementa ry School attendance area would be hardest hit.

        Eliminating teachers would result in a 20 percent increase in class sizes, while reductions in custodial services and a 75 percent budget reduction in overtime and substitute workers means schools will likely close to the community at 3:30 each day, Mr. Robertson said.

        The levy would raise $2.13 million annually and cost the owner of a $100,000 home an additional $211 annually.

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