North Judson-San Pierre and Oregon-Davis Schools Look to Cut Programs; Staff to Solve Budget Issues

North Judson-San Pierre Superintendent Lynn Johnson

North Judson-San Pierre and Oregon-Davis Schools will be in grave financial trouble next school year. North Judson-San Pierre stands to lose $1.2 million and Oregon-Davis  stands to lose $500,000 in funding next school year because of a change in the state funding formula.

They say larger class size, fewer programs offered and teacher layoffs may be the only way to make the necessary budget cuts. According to North Judson-San Pierre Superintendent, Lynn Johnson, and Oregon-Davis Superintendent, Dr. Steve Disney, education reform is making it difficult for public school administrators to provide the best opportunities possible. Mrs. Johnson, for one, is leery of what vouchers will do to her corporation.

“As far as the voucher system, what you do have is the same pot of money that would be going to a larger amount of recipients,” said Mrs. Johnson. “So, when you look at a voucher system, that would give parents the opportunity to take their children to another school. The voucher system is going to give us less money in public education and it will be spent through many other charter schools and private schools, not just public schools.”

Dr. Steve Disney

Dr. Disney says the changes teachers are expecting from the legislature, including a possible erosion of certain collective bargaining rights, has already hurt morale.

“At this point in time, all of the negative things the teachers are looking at, it’s becoming difficult to keep the morale and what our daily focus is, we’ve got to help kids,” said Dr. Disney. “With the financial difficulties, when we look at some of these pressures such as charter schools and vouchers, teachers feel like there’s a negative assault towards them. We all know with employees, and even in a school, the number one thing is the climate and building a positive climate for kids. So, our challenge today is to try to keep the morale of teachers when it’s down because the kids see it. The kids know when mom and dad are fighting and they know when there’s difficulty in finances. It’s the same way with schools.”

The North Judson-San Pierre School Board members will be looking at two agenda items during their meeting tonight that might have a negative impact on the 2011-2012 school year. There will be a discussion of what to do about the marching band program and the Board will also be asked for approval for notification of reductions in force, or staff layoffs.