The Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn School Board held a special meeting on March 11 to deal with three issues and then go into a closed session to discuss negotiations and personnel. The board appreciates those who take on the responsibility of serving as a substititute bus driver. They have been paid $6.75 per hour.
Since they have to undergo the same training as a regular driver, the board decided to go along with raising their pay to $61 a day retroactive to Feb.1st.
The second issue dealt with accepting resignations from Josh Hetzel as instrumental music instructor and Blair Chapman as middle school instructor. Eileen Chapman also presented the board with her resignation but it depended upon her being granted early retirement pay as her husband. Blair Chapman met all the requirement but Eileen's fell 36 days short of the requirement. The board tabled her request for further study and discussion.
Some members of the board were concerned about not following the requirements of early retirement policy and not dealing fairly with everyone who approaches the board. No adjustments have been made for anyone else.
The third issue dealt with deciding on what to do about seeking a replacement for the position of high school principal. The board was told they need to cut $196,000 from the budget by Supt. Jan Brandhorst. About half of that amount can bed made up through resignations received thus far. Whe asked by board for ideas to make more cuts, Brandhorst had none.
Board member Jeff Gross asked about the possibility of not replacing the high school principal and instead. have Brandhorst do double duty or share a position. Member Vernon Letsche voiced concerned about losing a good superintendent if this idea becomes a reality.
Gross responded, "Where are we going to make cuts and find $100,000 more? If the board doesn't like my suggestion, you had best come up with some other idea. We need to make some cuts and there are no easy choices."
Board President Rachel Holmes noted that she didn't want Brandhorst to get bogged down.
Board Member Loren Mohning thought perhaps Elementary Principal Kathy Tritz-Rhodes could handle K through the eight grade and Brandhorst take over duties of nine through 12th grade. Supervision of sports could be increased by the athletic directors. It was noted other district have done this.
Gross also inquired how fuel bills were going to which Brandhorst said the district was operating within this year's budget. The question was open as to how high fuel will go next year.
Brandhorst shared that another superintendent who took on a principal duties as well, warned him that too much time is used in disciplining students and hard to get your other responsibilities done. The board's secretary Beck Sand noted that Brandhorst and high School principal stay busy and don't see this idea working.
The board finally decided to go ahead and advertise for one week and see what comes of it but the decision is yet to made. Gross reiterated the need for cuts and administration cost is high.
The board will meet at it's regular monthly meeting this coming Monday evening.