JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (WAVE) - The board of trustees for Greater Clark County Schools (GCCS) has voted in favor of a “cost reduction” proposal that would trim nearly $6 million from the district’s budget by closing two Jeffersonville schools among other measures.
The approval came following a series of objections from parents, teachers, coaches and bus drivers who urged board members to postpone their vote in the public comment period of a board meeting Tuesday. Those objections came after weeks of sustained protest to proposal, including vocal opposition from Jeffersonville mayor Mike Moore.
On Tuesday, GCCS Superintendent Mark Laughner presented the cost reduction proposal as having “minimal impact.”
“Myself and the cabinet have worked very hard to create a cost reduction plan that has minimal impact on the classroom and the students, the plan I am presenting to you tonight does just that,” he said. “This cost reduction plan does not rip or cut any staff that are currently working for us, it will no increase class sizes in any of our schools and it will not decrease the number of students we transport throughout the district each day, it will also not take benefits away from any of our employees.”
After a discussion between Laughner and the board, six GCCS trustees voted in favor of the cost reduction plan. Only one member voted against the measure.
According to a meeting presentation, the plan was created because “GCCS has been in deficit spending for the past several years which has depleted the district’s cash balances and rainy day fund.”
The district’s goal is to move out of deficit spending and establish a cash balance of 8 percent to 10 percent in their education, operation, and rainy day funds. The school board identified cost reductions for the 2020-2021 school year at a minimum amount of $2.5 million for the operations fund and $3 million for the education fund.
The proposal includes the following items:
- The closure of Bridgepoint Elementary and Corden Porter School in Jeffersonville
- Changes to the staffing formula for art, music, PE, and media/tech education
- Reduction of 12 bus routes with a “two-tier” system while making adjustments to some special education routes
- Outsourcing all maintenance and custodial
When Laughner submitted the proposal Tuesday, he also made a change to how the Corden Porter program would dissolve. He proposed the program be moved in its entirety to Jeffersonville High School instead of splitting the program between two area high schools.
The proposal will go into effect on July 1, 2021.
Last year, CGGS closed Maple Elementary and Spring Hill Elementary in downtown Jeffersonville; students from those schools now attend Franklin Square Elementary. Students from Bridgepoint will be split between Franklin Square and Riverside Elementary.
This story will be updated