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Greencastle-Antrim school board votes to cut 60 support staff to save $600,000

April 04, 2013|By ROXANN MILLER | roxann.miller@herald-mail.com
  • Greencastle-Antrim School District Superintendent C. Gregory Hoover is shown during Thursday night's meeting to discuss the possibilities of eliminating support staff positions over the next three years.
By Joe Crocetta, Staff Photographer

GREENCASTLE, Pa. — In an effort to whittle down a $1.2 million budget deficit from the district’s $34 million 2013-14 budget, the Greencastle-Antrim School Board voted Thursday night to cut 60 support staff positions.

Gone from the school district’s payroll are 33 transportation employees (16 in the 2013-14 school year and 17 in the 2014-15 school year), 22 maintenance/custodial employees and five technology employees.

The board voted to spare 29 food service positions.

Before the vote, Greencastle-Antrim School District Superintendent C. Gregory Hoover gave a presentation on the 2013-14 budget.

After the administration trimmed the $1.4 million budget shortfall down to a $1.2 million deficit by reducing printing and finding miscellaneous savings throughout the district, other options to close the gap were limited, Hoover said.

Hoover said the decision was difficult, but unfortunately, outsourcing was one of the last places he had left to cut without hurting students.

“I know all the employees. I understand what’s happening to them,” Hoover said. “On the other side, it comes down to doing this or cutting teachers or programs for kids. So as much I hate making those recommendations, I have to do what’s best for kids.”

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District Business Manager Jolinda Wilson said the district would save $300,000 by outsourcing transportation, $250,000 by outsourcing maintenance/custodial and $50,000 by outsourcing technology.

She said the Public School Employees’ Retirement System, commonly referred to as PSERS, and health care costs make up the bulk of the savings.

Wilson said there is an 8 percent increase in employee health care costs next year.

“We met with some of the bus drivers. They were very, very professional and understanding about the situation,” board President Brian Hissong said. “I want to publicly recognize you and say thank you for all you do.”

Wilson said the savings to outsource 29 food service jobs would be $15,000.

“I am personally not comfortable with outsourcing food service,” board member Joel Fridgen said. “The savings are not there like they are in transportation.”

The board voted not to outsource the food service jobs.

There were four outsourcing votes. Board members Michael Shindle and William Thorne voted against outsourcing the jobs on each vote.

Hoover said the district is working hard to make sure the employees are offered jobs with the new companies.

“There are no guarantees. But we’re working hard to make sure no one loses their jobs,” he said.

Even with the approximately $600,000 savings in outsourcing, Hoover said the district is recommending the board approve pulling $250,000 from the $5 million fund balance (the district’s savings account) and increasing taxes by 2 mills, which is the amount allowed under state law. Those moves would bring in $377,386 in revenue for the district to shore up the budget gap.

How they voted

The Greencastle-Antrim School Board held four votes on outsourcing departments to save money for next year’s budget. The vote results are as follows:

Transportation: 6-3 in favor

Food service: 9-0 against

Maintenance: 7-2 in favor

Technology services: 6-3 in favor

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