Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

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Teacher, support staff cuts save Bay district about $400,000

by Chris Schultz

April 21, 2011

Williams Bay — Cutting four teachers and reducing the hours on another three saved the district $259,252, said District Superintendent Fred Vorlop.

At the April 11 School Board meeting, the board approved laying off four elementary school teachers and cutting the hours of two high school teachers and one junior high school teacher. Those layoffs will be final as of June 30.

In addition, two support personnel at the high school will be laid off and one retiring teacher will not be replaced. That will save another $141,500, said Vorlop. That makes a grand total of $400,752 in personnel cuts.

Vorlop said that with the other budget cuts carried out by the School Board, the district has probably covered the $617,000 hole anticipated earlier this school year with the failure of the revenue cap referendum.

State mandated revenue cap cuts could deepen the hole by another $30,000, Vorlop said at last week's School Board meeting.

What remains to be seen is what effects the state budget bill will have on the district.

Two bids at that April 11 meeting came in lower than expected.

Elko Kleen of Elkhorn, cut its three year costs to clean Williams Bay schools for an anticipated savings of $35,700, Vorlop said. The costs over its three-year contract will be $132,966, $136,955 and $141,064, he said.

The company won a second three-year contract from the board.

And lawn care company G.K. Services of Hebron, Ill., was approved for another three-year contract for $50,319 a year. The last year of its previous three-year contract was $51,598, Vorlop said.

"I'm sure both contractors realized the district is facing tough times and they sharpened their pencils to get the bids," he said.

The lawn care bid was slimmed down further when the board agreed to cut $3,100 in fertilizer and weed control for the fields on Theatre Road.

Board member Dianna Woss urged the board to cut the lawn care frills.

"If we're cutting field trips, we can cut fertilizer and weed killer," Woss said.

"Field trips have an academic purpose. The grass will grow. So will the weeds, but they'll get cut," she said.

All told, another $37,500 was squeezed from the budget by the School Board in making the following cuts: field trips ($14,000); junior high school incentive program ($3,500); outdoor education, teacher requisitions and summer school enrichment programs, ($6,000 each); some athletic uniforms ($2,000) and, a $2,000 savings by going to a computer-based remedial summer school program, rather than using teachers.

One of Vorlop's recommended cuts has already been implemented.

Starting Jan. 24, the company providing cafeteria services to Williams Bay schools cut three positions in the lunch lines.

Food choices were reduced and the cost of meals increased by 30 cents, to $2.40 per meal for grades K-6 and $2.50 for grades 7-12.

That is expected to save the district $55,000.

School Board President Peter Miller said the board's goal is to cut expenses without cutting in the classrooms.