It is back to the drawing board for Westminster School District administrators as the school board of trustees rejected the suggested proposal of eliminating 17 positions during a heated school board meeting Thursday.
The board voted 5-0, amending the resolution and asking administrators to consider other alternative measures, instead of what was presented to them before the meeting. The resolution originally called for elimination of 17 classified positions and reduction hours for three other classified positions in order to submit a balanced budget for the upcoming school year.
The board asked that administrators come back with multiple choices that could include staff hours reduction, attrition and discontinuing of positions. However, the board specified that proposals can only have up to seven positions for elimination.
Also, the board asked that employee only non-instructional furlough days, changes to class size and changes to holiday and vacation pay be considered as well.
Administrators will have only a week to proposed new resolutions for the board. A special school board meeting resolving the budget will be held on Thursday at 7 p.m.
Emotions ran high during the two-hour long meeting on both sides of the issue. Mary Mangold, president of the board, said she was not aware of the
“It is a tough decision,” Mangold said, during the meeting. “We never made that list. I never put those names on the list. That’s what the administration gave us.”
“We don’t want to lay off anyone at all,” Board of Trustee member Andrew Nguyen said. “We are not here to favor anyone.
“Our intention up here is to try to work together,” he added.
However, many employees and residents in attendance at the packed school board hall voiced concern that options were not considered originally.
“I really encourage you, to go back and listen and think,” Westminster resident Coni Kohan said. “We run on a very tight budget. These people our working very hard for our children.”
“The community is not happy about this,” Midway City resident Roberta Daetweiler said. “Please be aware of this.”
Shelly Wilford, who position as a staff secretary was on the original elimination proposal, spoke during the meeting. Because of her seniority, she would be bumped out of her position and laid, according to the original resolution.
She said during the meeting that if the resolution was passed, she would have to inform her daughter who attends college in Arizona about the detrimental news.
After the meeting, Wilford said it was hard to imagine leaving a place she called home for six years.
“I love it here,” she said. “From the first day I walked in it’s been a family. We always stuck together in the past.”
Most of the people who opposed the original resolution, spoke about the option of adding more furlough days. However, Amy Walsh, a board of trustee member, said that furlough days would not be helpful for the students in the district.
“Furlough days are detrimental to our children,” she said. “A lot of kids in my specific apartment complex…they either get locked in their houses or they get locked out.”
While the measures may seem drastic for the district, the district that more state funding will be available. Any cuts or eliminated positions can be reinstated in more funding becomes available, according to the amended resolution.
A special presentation about the nurses unit for the school district was heard towards the end of the meeting. The meeting was closed in a moment of silence, for the victims of the Boston Marathon and Texas Plant explosions.