White River prepares for more reductions

The White River School Board took another step toward preparing for the worst economically. At a special meeting Thursday afternoon, the board approved another resolution to reduce its workforce, while preparing a document to ask the State Board of Education to give it the nod to waive elementary physical education.

Superintendent Tom Lockyer explained to the small group gathered in the district’s conference room that ongoing budget proposals at the state level are making school district leaders nervous and reductions, which the district had already planned to be $3 million, could be significantly higher. More reductions in elementary and secondary teachers as well as district certificated specialists could be in the future.

The district’s bargaining agreement with the teachers’ union requires action by the school board to reduce staff.

The school board is required by law to give notice to certificated employees affected by any decision to reduce or eliminate by May 15.

In the second resolution, which depends on the State Board of Education’s decision, the school board is asking for a waiver of the 100-minute physical education requirement per student per week for grades 1 through 6. The White River School Board will provide a physical education program and opportunities, however the waiver would relieve some pressure should the budget tighten.

In other business, from the special meeting and its April 8 regular meeting, the board:

• heard from a number of band students and parents reminding it of the importance of a secondary band program.

• listened to Wickersham School of Discovery fifth-grade students explain their social studies project on someone who is a hero to them.

• approved snow make-up days for June 15, 16 and 17.

• announced its next special meeting is at 6 tonight, Wednesday, at Lockyer’s home. This is an executive session for the superintendent’s evaluation. The board’s next regular meeting is at 6 p.m. May 13 at the board conference room.

• denied a leave of absence request from bus driver Elizabeth Campbell.

• approved a leave of absence for teacher Bethany Ellis.

• accepted bus driver Debbie Burbank’s resignation.

• hired long-term Mountain Meadow Elementary School substitute Tiffany Iacobazzi; long-term White River High School substitute teachers Lea Schutzler and Henry Smith.

• recognized national teacher appreciation week and substitute staff appreciation week.

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