Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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February 13, 2014

Taylor debates ways to cut $584K

Declining enrollment, decreased revenue to blame.

Superintendent Chris Smith used the analogy of moving from a big boat to a small boat to explain the changes ahead of Taylor Community School Corp. — and one goal is to keep students from jumping ship.

Facing declining enrollment, decreased revenue from property taxes and upcoming legislative decisions that could further impact funding, Taylor must cut its expenses by $584,000 going in the 2014-15 school year.

More than 50 people attended the public work session Wednesday to discuss reducing operations to a “small boat” scale. Twenty minutes was devoted to public input, and Smith plans to present a formal recommendation for the reductions to the board of education in March.

“We’re looking at every level, every department,” he said. “We’re trying to make it fair and equitable.”

Part of the restructure proposal is to partially close Taylor Intermediate School and move the fourth and fifth graders currently housed there to Taylor Primary School. The alternative school would move to the intermediate building, and the corporation would save about $20,000 a year on utilities.

Consolidating K-5 students in one building also would reduce staff hours by having the primary principal work part time overseeing preschool through second grade while the full-time intermediate principal would oversee grades three through five.

In addition to closing the intermediate school, the restructure proposal includes:

• Charging the school lunch program, which operates independently, for use of facilities and utilities for an additional $50,000;

• Eliminating the “new tech” logo for Taylor High School for a savings of about $39,000;

• Eliminating the preschool program offered by the corporation and rewriting the Title 1 grant so preschool classrooms would be funded with federal dollars to save $36,000;

• Reducing staff positions, including making the primary principal position part time and cutting an elementary teacher, special education teacher, two high school teachers and an English as a Second Language teacher for a total savings of $218,000; and

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