Out of the $7.6 million proposed cuts in Plainfield School District, some of the recommendations are resourceful, such as replacing copy clerks with additional copy machines at the high schools at no additional cost to the district.
By placing more copy machines at the high schools, teachers won't have to stand in line to make copies, said Superintendent John Harper at Monday's board meeting.
The district pays per copy not per machine so this idea won't cost the district additional money. By cutting four copy clerk jobs at the high schools, Harper said the district will save $134,130.
It is important to note that salaries assigned to the jobs include base pay plus benefits. So a person isn't taking home that amount, but that's what it costs the district to keep the person on the payroll.
Harper unveiled about $7.6 million in proposed cuts that included eliminating 112 full-time equivalent (FTE) positions district-wide. The board is expected to take public comment on this issue next month.
Harper's presentation was long and detailed. I couldn't get all of it in the paper so here's more of it:
The district is also proposing to cut 10 instructional technology specialists at the middle and high schools for a savings of $469,471 at the middle schools and $201,202 at the high schools.
Harper said he anticipates that the jobs of media specialists will be reposted in order for staff to show they have the appropriate skills and certification.
At the middle school, instructional technology specialists usually teach computer classes. At the high school, they assist teachers with integrating technology into the classroom, said Spokesman Tom Hernandez..
LARGER P.E. CLASSES
Harper is also suggesting to restructure the high school physical education and health curriculum to cut four FTE teaching jobs, saving $268,269.
Students get their health requirement through a course that moves them every few weeks from physical education to health/wellness class. Under the proposal, students would take physical education one semester and health the other semester during their freshman year
Currently, P.E. class sizes are in the lower 40s and are projected to increase to the low 50s which is big, but manageable, Hernandez said. Health class sizes would drop down into to the 30s.
80 DAYS OF IN-SCHOOL SUSPENSION
At the middle schools, there are teacher's assistants who monitor Alternative School Day Assignment for students who are given an internal suspension. Harper said the schools do not have internal suspension every day so he is proposing that the aides are called in when needed. Each middle school would get 80 days per school year. Harper is proposing cutting each support person at the middle schools for a savings of $194,134.
TEACHING MORE CLASSES
The district is reinstating an assistant athletic director at Plainfield South High School because the other high schools currently have that position. The assistant athletic directors at all four high schools would teach four classes - up from two - for a savings of $44,567. So, the savings would come through additional value for the time they give the district, Hernandez said.
Harper said the district is not cutting any high school classes, but some courses will be consolidated. For example, German III and Honors German III could be combined to teach a total of 27 students rather than 12 in one class and 15 in another. He sees opportunity to consolidate courses in social studies, sciences and career & technology. By doing this, he will be able to cut six teaching positions for a savings of $402,404.
REDUCING NURSING STAFF
Currently, there are 43 registered nurses in the district, including one nurse supervisor, eight certified registered nurses and 34 registered nurses - two at each high school and one at each of the middle and elementary schools. The plan is to lay-off one nurse at each high school, leaving a total of 39 registered nurses, saving $177,057.
The nurses are given extra hours to check students' records and make sure students' shots are up-to-date. Harper is suggesting to reduce those hours to 365 hours each year and reallocate those hours based on school size. So the high schools would still get 50 hours per year, but a smaller school like Crystal Lawns would get 20 hours. This measure would save the district $8,505.