Thursday, January 14, 2010

Cliff Notes for Decatur School District Plan

The draft of the MSD of Decatur Township Fiscal Restructuring Plan Recommendations, presented by Superintendent Don Stinson on Tuesday night, is available on the School District website.

As promised I will attempt to summarize it here. This plan is clear in places, providing the number of positions to be cut and the anticipated savings. The plan is vague in places which suggests that this plan has not been fully vetted for its ability to be implemented. And, it is vague in places where it becomes impossible to determine either job cuts or savings.


The total amount of cuts that need to be made in all funds amounts to $9.8 million.

I added up all of the savings noted in the plan and the total anticipated savings comes to $8,764,032 -- roughly one million short of the goal.



The Superintendent, who is the 2nd highest paid in Central Indiana and likely the entire State, will take an unspecific cut in salary.

All Administrators will take a 5% cut in salary.

The Teachers, who in 2008-2009 were the 4th highest paid in the entire State and the highest paid in Central Indiana, are being asked to agree to a 5% cut in both salary and benefits.


6 Administrator positions will be eliminated.

All security positions will be eliminated "except for full time at special events".

2 maintenance positions will be eliminated.

1 special education consultant position will be eliminated.

2 social worker positions will be eliminated.

All custodial subs positions will be eliminated.

4 office personal positions will be eliminated.

Bus driver positions are not addressed - only cuts in transportation, as will be noted below - but presumably these changes will lead to cuts at these positions.

Teacher position cuts get hard to follow. In one section it claims that if the Teachers decline the 5% salary and benefits cut, then 60 positions will be cut. If they take the pay cut, only 34 positions would be cut. And if 17 teachers retire, no cuts would be necessary. But, further on it lists specified cuts of 17-20 teacher positions plus an unspecified series of job cuts to the applied tech program at the Intermediate School and the fast forward program at the High School.


The Early Childhood Center (ECC) would move to Lynwood Elementary School. The old ECC would remain vacant.

All Elementary students at Lynwood would move to other schools.

The Intermediate schools would convert to grades 1-6.

Stephen Decatur, West Newton, and Valley Mills Elementary Schools would all convert to grades 1-6.

They 'hope' to vacate the Mitchell Building, which houses Ivy Tech, the Challenger Center, and the Decatur Discovery Academy. For some reason, all three are costing money from District funds. The problem here is that the District has a long term lease and unless it can find somebody to take that lease over, the projected savings would not happen. This section of the proposed plan is awash in 'investigate', 'hopefully' and other indications that they have not fully vetted this part of the plan for feasibility.

The plan calls for closing the old operations building.

The plan calls for eliminating the community use of the Armstrong Pavilion and switching it to school use only. They might move the functions from the old operations building to the Pavilion. How this saves any money is beyond me, but they claim it would.


The plan calls for the elimination of field trips, transportation of sports teams, and all after school bus activity.

The plan calls for "consideration" of new fees for transportation, technology, athletics, etc.

The plan calls for all groups using school facilities to pay a fee - including youth athletic programs, guest bands, and presumably church services and civic group use.

Last but not least, the plan states "consider referendum for MSD of Decatur Township".

That's my review of the proposed plan. I do have to say it is not as firm a proposal as I was expecting with many loose ends and ill-defined steps and savings. And again, the cost savings listing come up one million dollars short of the goal of saving $9.8 million.


Anonymous said...

The already understaffed custodians get hit again. The schools get bigger and the staffs get smaller for them. Only 6 administrative positions eliminated and an "unspecified" cut in salary for the Super? hmmm.

Had Enough Indy? said...

indystudent - it gets worse. They have been laying off the security force one by one - and plan to have only one trained security officer for the whole district. They have untrained mall cops working the High School.

Heaven forbid any situation arises that puts the students at risk. It is outrageous that they put the welfare of the kids so low on their priority list.

But, the Central Office Administrators will be warm and snuggly in their new posh offices in the old Concentra Building. Can't ask them to cut back at all.