District 55 makes cuts to balance budget

BLACKFOOT — Blackfoot School District officials have eliminated middle school sports and have cut eight teaching positions—among numerous other cuts—in an effort to meet a $2.072 million budget deficit for the 2011-2012 school year.
Those cuts were outlined in a memorandum to all district staff members from Superintendent Scott Crane Friday. The memo was sent out Friday after all personnel affected by the cuts had been notified.
Eight teaching positions including two music teacher positions have been removed from the budget—five through attrition and three due to a reduction in force. Those three employees have been offered "teacher to new certification" employment with the district.
Music will still be offered at the middle school and will be covered by teachers at the high school, Assistant Superintendent Chad Struhs said.
All middle school sports have been eliminated and the district will reduce the majority of the assistant coaching positions at Blackfoot High School. Struhs said they are trying to work with community members to provide non-school sponsored sports at the middle school at a reduced cost.
The district plans to offer all BHS sports and activities next year, but will need 15 or more students to participate or the sport or activity will be cancelled. Extracurricular busing will also be reduced.
The district has transferred administrators and have reduced administrative positions by one-half. All salaries have been frozen, but the district will cover the individuals' medical insurance rate increase.
Several classified positions have been reduced including two secretaries at Blackfoot High School; a half-time secretary/half-time Limited English Proficiency paraprofessional and a full-time paraprofessional at Mountain View Middle School; a half-time secretary at Blackfoot Sixth Grade School; a half-time secretary at Ridge Crest Elementary and one maintenance employee position.
In addition, the maintenance secretary and maintenance employees days have been reduced, secondary secretaries' hours have been reduced by 45 minutes each day and all full-time paraprofessionals will have their work schedules reduced by 10 days to 180 days.
Four elementary librarians positions have been eliminated, three custodians who have retired or resigned will not be replaced and the District Office receptionist will not be replaced.
In the memo, Crane said with the reductions the district should be able to continue to offer a full complement of programs for students, but said federal program budgets have not been received yet and may impact the status of federally-funded paraprofessionals.