01 Mar, 2019
We understand that at times it is confusing for our community to understand how decisions are made within the district. We continuously hear misinformation or rumor and hope to use this page to clarify any question our community has about recent decisions.
Questions? Please feel free to email us by clicking (Contact Us) from our website or email [email protected]
The following questions were asked at the February 2019 School Board meeting.
Question: How are school board decisions made?
Answer: The school board and the district have a few goals in how decisions are made. First and foremost, no decision is ever made quickly and without thoughtful discussions and research. Secondly, is it for the good of the student? Third, will it keep us on budget? Finally, does it meet with Indiana Department of Education and state of Indiana policies/rules?
Question: At the budget hearing (fall 2018), Dr. Moore said our finances are in good shape. If that’s true, why are we having a Reduction in Force for two administrative positions?
Answer: It’s a good question. The 2019 budget was built in July and August 2018. At that time, the school year had ended with our finances in good shape. Unfortunately, each year our revenue changes based on our enrollment.
As with many districts in Indiana, we too have experienced a steady decrease in kindergarten enrollment compared to the class size of graduating seniors. ( 188 out of 297 districts in Indiana were in lower enrollment from 2006 – 2017) (-reference IDOE website, enrollment data). In addition, we specifically have seen a decline in enrollment that began the 2009-2010 school year, (Andrew Crowley, (2018), ‘Decline in Enrollment, Funding Changes Impact Budget of MSD of Martinsville’, Reporter-Times, 22 of December). For the 2019-2020 school year, we are anticipating 275 children will enter kindergarten. Unfortunately, this year we will graduate 350 seniors; representing a loss of 75 students for state funding purposes.
To help us make up for some of that loss in funding and to maintain financial responsibility, reducing two administrative positions was recommended to the school board and not the elimination of teachers, programs or curriculum for students. We believe we have enough administrators with professional experience and leadership to maintain our current services and standards. Above all else, we know that a teacher is the most impactful person in a child’s life. Our commitment is to keep teachers in classrooms and reduce administration costs which our Indiana Legislature has publicly recommended.
Question: How much are we saving by eliminating these positions?
Answer: The alternative school director’s position is budgeted for $122,500 including salary and benefits. Administrator benefits are around $18,000. In addition, there is a 3% annuity contribution, 1% VEBA contribution and Indiana State Teachers Retirement contribution. The total package for both salary and benefits is $122,500.
The Title 1 director’s position is budgeted at $89,000 including salary and benefits. The Title 1 salary is paid for by a Title grant. The extra funds will be used for Title 1 students. We will increase services to students in the program. For example, more reading and math intervention.
Question: Is the Paragon Elementary principal position going to be filled?
Answer: Yes, the Paragon Elementary principal change is not part of the cost savings plan.
Question. How will Title 1 and Hammons change for students?
Answer: It is important to us that students who are a part of Title 1 and Hammons will not experience a change to their services, and their families will not notice a change either. For this reason, there will be no decrease in staffing to Title 1 or Hammons’ teachers or aides.
To explain, the role of the Title 1 director was to administer a governmental grant which will now be assumed by another district administrator. Several districts similar to our size already use our new model, which will start in the fall, and they find it extremely successful.
With respect to Hammons, during the 2016-2017 school year, Martinsville High School had a class size of 1504. Our current high school enrollment including Hammons is 1441. We believe our current high school administrative team has the leadership capacity to effectively administer and oversee Hammons.
Question: Why is Dr. Moore doing this now if you don’t need to decrease the positions until the fall?
Answer: To answer respectfully, because it’s the law. We are governed by Indiana state law that provides a timeline for us to process contracts that will not be renewed. So basically, we are required by law that all administrators must be notified by March 1, but the law also includes several steps that are required to be completed first.
For example, the process began in December with in-person meetings between administrators and Dr. Moore/Dr. Terhune in which a required letter of notice was given, per state guidelines. Private hearings followed soon after between each administrator and our superintendent and the school board. Lastly, to comply with the state law concerning notification, the school board was required to vote about contracts that would not be renewed. The vote happened at the February school board meeting to meet the state’s March 1st deadline.
Question: Why would an administrator contract not be renewed?
Answer: The non-renewal of an administrator’s contract could occur for several reasons: financial reductions in force, not in the best interest of the school district or non-performance. All administrators are evaluated in the district annually just like the teaching staff and similar guidelines are used for both. For example, principals are evaluated in 23 areas.
In addition, there are two parts of an administrator’s contract (in Indiana):
1) The administrator’s contract (which is usually an addendum or separate administrator’s contract)
2) The underlying Indiana Teacher’s contract
If the administrative part of the contract is a nonrenewal, it does not cancel the underlying teacher contract. Meaning administrators will still be offered a teaching position. For us, starting fall 2019.
Question: Explain how Dr. Moore is reducing her contract days to save the district money?
Answer: Dr. Moore is voluntarily not taking pay for four (4) days a month. She will have 48 unpaid days out of her 261-day contract. Dr. Moore currently works over 60 hours a week. Even with one day a week removed from her contract, she will exceed 40 hours a week and still be full time. Dr. Terhune will be acting superintendent four days a month and receive a pay adjustment of $3,518 annually.
The net savings to the district, even with Dr. Terhune’s pay adjustment, will be around $25,000.