Shafer responds to governor's K-12 cuts

Governor Mitch Daniels announced last week that at the turn of the year, the state would cut K-12 funding by $297 million throughout the 2010 calendar year.

"We reduced everything else first, and much more deeply, but K-12 education is half the entire budget and it became unavoidable for it to become part of the solution," says Daniels in a release from the state.
Half of the budget represents $6.5 billion annually.
Huntington County Community School Corporation Superintendent of Schools Tracey Shafer says the first action he needs to make is to see how the cuts directly affect local schools.

"[We need to] get good information (that shows) what we'll see in Huntington," Shafer says.

He explains that so far, the general fund support from the state has been reduced $500,000 from 2009 to 2010. He also says a meeting is coming up with representatives across the corporation, including those for teachers, classified staff and administrators, to determine how the budget can be reduced in a "fair and logical way."

Some of those ways have already been discussed at previous HCCSC Board of Trustees meetings, including what the corporation can do with stimulus money and reducing en-ergy consumption. Shafer has noticed that cuts seem to be made per month.

Daniels encourages schools to use the State Board of Education "Citizen's Checklist" to see if schools need to layoff teachers. The list is to "increase savings and efficiency." The checklist is available at www.in.gov/gov/files/2009_isbe_checklist.pdf and is up for passage tomorrow, Jan. 8.

"Any district can find two or three percent savings without reducing teaching staff," says Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett. "If everyone - including teachers themselves - will pitch in, we'll get through this recession just fine."
Shafer says if staff cuts are needed in the future, the corporation will decide what "makes sense educationally."