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School finds way to save money

May 05, 2010 | 08:32 AM
Fontana — Last week, the Fontana School Board laid off one teacher. On Monday afternoon, another volunteered to reduce her full-time position to 50 percent.

On Monday afternoon, District Administrator Mark Wenzel said a teacher agreed to a voluntary 50 percent reduction of her position, which will last for one year.

"That person is going to do fourth-grade reading instruction," Wenzel said.

Although the voluntary reduction helps the district with its current finances, Wenzel admits the district still faces financial challenges.

Wenzel said the district is looking at all its options and work on its budget is ongoing.

Last week, the board issued a layoff notice to 4-year-old kindergarten teacher Laura Labermeier.

With salary and benefits, Wenzel expects the cut to reduce the district's budget by about $66,000.

Wenzel said between $135,000 and $140,000 needs to be cut from next year's budget because of declining enrollment.

For the past few years, the number of students who reside in the district has continued to dwindle. With fewer students in the school, the district is forced by state budget laws to decrease its levy.

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Wenzel said more than 75 percent of the district's budget is allocated to salary and benefits.

The need for cuts for declining enrollment shouldn't come to residence as a surprise. In 2007, Fontana Elementary School shared some of its budget woes with the community and its anticipation that budget cuts would be needed eventually.

At the time, the funding concerns appeared more imminent, but the number of students in the school didn't reduce as quickly as anticipated.

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