N.J.-S.P. Interim Superintendent Elaborates on “Right-Sizing”

BluejayThe North Judson-San Pierre School Board is still working out details of the “right-sizing” plan for the corporation. Interim Superintendent Dr. Bob Boyd told community members during a special-called meeting last night that significant staff reductions are necessary in order to address steady declines in enrollment and state funding.

He says the corporation needs to shrink by 40 percent in order to sustain and says officials are leaving no stone unturned in that process. The framework adopted unanimously by the school board last month calls for the administrative consolidation of the middle and high schools. Boyd says they will have a principal, assistant principal and an athletic director to oversee grades 7 through 12. Sixth grade students will be moved to the elementary school building. Right now two administrators are sharing athletic director duties. It’s uncertain whether the new framework includes a full-time athletic director or if another administrator will also hold that job.

Boyd says the board is also looking at cuts to special education teachers and staff, as the corporation currently has more of both than are currently needed. Reductions to counseling staff, instructional aids, custodial and food service staff will also be considered. The overall number of teachers will also be reduced. Boyd says consideration will be given to how effective teachers are as well as the corporation’s overall staffing needs.

The board will vote at their regularly scheduled March 15th meeting on an all-encompassing list of personnel cuts. Boyd stressed these are immediate considerations to help the corporation adjust to the decade-long decline in enrollment.

Most of the existing middle school space will be closed down next year to save on utility costs. Eventually that space may be retrofitted to accommodate elementary school classrooms. However Boyd says that will take time and money.

He says future considerations will also be necessary due to a shrinking local population and declining birth rates. That issue is not unique to North Judson-San Pierre, as several corporations in the area have seen declines in enrollment and reductions in state funding. The North Judson-San Pierre, Oregon-Davis and Culver Community School Corporations are all governed by interim superintendents, and Knox Superintendent A.J. Gappa’s contract was not renewed. Boyd acknowledged there have been what he calls “early discussions” of shared services among the corporations in a further attempt to save money and says the opportunity to do so is not being ignored.

WKVI will present Boyd’s presentation in its entirety each of the next two Sundays at noon CST on our Kankakee Valley Viewpoints public affairs sho