March 15, 2017

School board rejects staff reductions

By Daniel Arens

Despite the possibility of deficit spending due to lower student numbers, the Hazen School Board has opted to retain all current staffing for the upcoming school year.
Ken Miller, Hazen School District superintendent, brought the issue before the school board during the board meeting March 13, with recommendations from the personnel and finance committee. Currently, the district is down 31 students in the elementary school and 15 students in the high school.
Miller first outlined the possibilities for addressing the potential shortfalls in the budget from the lessened student population, specifically by addressing overstaffing.
The school board could look at simply reducing the total number of elementary teachers, moving sixth grade from the elementary school to junior high, making Monty Mayer principal for 7-12 grades, rather than just 9-12, or look at changes in the alternative school.
“The reason we ask you from this point until April to make some of these tougher decisions is because of some deadlines when it comes to continuous contracts,” Miller said.
Miller than asked the board to consider the negative ramifications of these options. First, he noted that he does not think the decrease in student numbers will be a continuing trend.

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