Now that Hastings Public Schools is struggling to meet minimum state requirements for testing this does not seem like the best time to reduce teaching staff. However, due to the poor economy nationwide, Hastings Public Schools is about to experience its most extreme situation in 21 years according to Superintendent Craig Kautz. At the April 5 Hastings Public School District school board meeting, Kautz present-ed the unfortunate news to the public. The 2012 budget outlook is grim. Early on, there was an estimated $4 million shortfall due to increase in district costs and a reduc-tion in state aid. In order to balance it, the school board had to create a new budget for the district. The new budget plan would call for spending reduction in areas like supplies for schools, reduced staff, and reduced funding for building maintenance. Hastings Education Association President Dave Witt spoke out against the initial plan for budget adjustments. We must make cuts as far away from the classroom as possible, Mr. Witt said. Kautz, who was in charge of making the planned cuts, presented them in two differ-ent proposals. The first, on March 17, had three levels of cuts. The second, presented on April 5, narrowed those levels to two. By this time, the district estimated the shortfall at $1.8 million instead of $4 million. This new information eliminated many cuts on the original budget plan. The job cuts that remained on the final plan were the German para-educator position at HHS, the 5th grade para-educator position at Watson elementary, and a reduction in the math staff, also at HHS. Ultimately, Sharon Witts math position will be eliminated,
but she will be reassigned to the business department to teach in place of Phyllis Hobbs, who is retiring. At the fourth and final meeting, math teachers Mrs. Witt and Ben Welsch voiced their
opinions to the board along with support from Mr. Witt. The teachers said the math student interventions implemented this year must be supported. In order to do so, they need the entire staff of teachers available. Another conflict that Mrs. Witt brought up to the board was the administrations plan to have the entire
math department carpeted, while at the same time letting go of a member of the math staff. We must make the school as attractive as possible for learning, Kautz said. Kautz emphasized that in letting the building deteriorate, the district is sending a message that it doesnt care about the students education. Kautz also added that the funding for maintenance is already reduced to $350,000 for the entire district and that the building and sites fund, which handles building improvements. Due to current law, these funds cannot be moved from one area to another, so the monies must be used for their pur-pose. Original cuts included on the first budget plan included 11 para-educator positions, teachers of English as a second language and counselor positions in schools across the district. Teachers, parents, students and even building principals made their opinions known as to what should be cut and what should not.The budget shortfall is estimated to last for two years before regaining stability. At the final meeting, the boards vote was 9-0 in favor of the final plan.
DAKOTA SOUCIE story
Budget gets trimmed
Can you feel the draft?
We must make cuts as far away from the calssroom as possible. -Dave Witt
New faculty gather in September, 1976. From left to right: Lynn Cordell, Dan McCarthy, Ladell Stonecipher, Don Johnson, and Kay Payne. On the ground are Ran-dy Lawson and Steve James. Tiger Cub photo
VALERIE FRAZIER storyTeaching in a high school is a very scary occupation. Teenagers are a nightmare and being stuck in a classroom all day would be very boring. Dan McCarthy and Phyllis Hobbs disagree with this infamous stereotype. I am going to miss the students the most. They always made my day, long time drafting teacher Dan McCarthy said.McCarthy has taught at Hastings High as the drafting teacher for 35 years and wouldnt change a single minute of it. Teaching at Hastings has been far better than I had ever dreamed. I never planned to be here for 35 years, Mc-Carthy said. McCarthy plans on helping new drafting teacher, Adam Skrdla, adjust to his new job. The best part of my job was watching the drafting program grow and watching students grow along with it, Mc-Carthy said. McCarthy isnt really sure what he is going to do after retirement. I will probably work on my 71 camaro and do some projects around the house, McCarthy said. McCarthy says that he has really enjoyed watching his students come in as freshmen and strive as juniors and seniors. I am very sad that Mr. McCarthy is leaving because I dont want to do my last year of drafting with a new teacher, three year drafting student junior Alex Olson said. McCarthy enjoys watching high school sporting events and drama events so he plans to attend many of these events for the next couple of years. Along with McCarthy, Phyllis Hobbs, the multi media teacher at HHS, is also retir-ing this year.Hobbs has taught at HHS since 1980. She was the cheerleading sponsor for 15 years. The best part of my teaching career was helping students develop multi media skills and helping them keep up with the new technology, Hobbs said. Hobbs has two sons and three grandchildren that she plans to visit more often after she retires. Hobbs also plans on taking a New England/Canadian Cruise next Fall. I will continue to work with multi media as a hobby, Hobbs said. Hobbs also enjoys reading and golfing so she will fill a lot of her free time doing that Special education and research teacher, Ann Koozer, is also among those retiring this year. Koozer started teaching at HHS in 1989. I am going to miss my relationships with students and colleagues, Koozer said. One of Koozers biggest accomplishments while being at HHS was helping students become more successful in the classroom. After I retire I am going to do some volunteer work in the community and hopefully do some subbing here at HHS, Koozer said. Students and staff appreciate all the retiring teachers have done and hope that they all have a happy retirement.