TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – Monday, The Vigo County School Board approved around $5.5 million in spending cuts and $1.1 million in retroactive pay for teachers.
Back in October, Superintendent Rob Haworth proposed just over $5.5 million dollars in spending cuts for the Vigo County School corporation to help with a dwindling cash balance, in addition to an operational referendum that was passed by voters in November.
These cuts include redesigning alternative education, elementary school consolidation, and changing the schools’ bus replacement plan.
Monday, these cuts were approved.
“Any time you talk about building closures, or re-consolidation, or anything like that, the board wants to take their time and make sure they’re making the right decision for the students and also for the corporation,” Hank Irwin, president of the Vigo County school board.
Since October, some changes have been made to the proposed cuts.
This includes a nearly $200,000 increase in expected savings from changing the corporation’s bus replacement plan and eliminating a total of six administrative positions as opposed to central administrators taking pay cuts.
“When you reduce positions you’re reducing bigger chunks than a pay cut but those are permanent cuts to the budget.” said Bill Riley, VCSC director of communications.
Also on Monday, the Vigo County school board approved $1.1 million dollars in retroactive pay for teachers.
It comes after school officials say the corporation had a larger cash balance in 2019 than originally estimated.
“It’s something that we thought should’ve been done during bargaining and we shouldn’t have had to go back and ask for it but we’re glad to have it now and move forward,” said Mark Lee, president of the Vigo County Teacher’s Association.
Although moving forward with two major financial proposals, Irwin says the corporation’s and board’s work isn’t finished quite yet.
“We need to make sure that those spending cuts are followed through and that they are providing the savings that they said they are going to provide, and make sure we’re right sizing our budget to meet current enrollment for the Vigo County School Corporation,” Irwin said.
Irwin says he has received the most comments from the public about the consolidation of McLean and Booker T. Washington schools.
He says instead of just moving students from one building to the other, the board hopes to take the best programs from each school to create one new program.
School officials say committees will be created to help make decisions about consolidation and alternative education redesign.