The Suburbanite
  • Parents concerned about cuts in Green's gifted program

  • The June Green Board of Education meeting was dominated by questions and concerns regarding recent cuts in the gifted program.


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  • The June Green Board of Education meeting was dominated by questions and concerns regarding recent cuts in the gifted program.
    The cuts were brought about by the recent defeat of a school levy in May.
    Dr. Sharon Dahlman, retired gifted coordinator, with tears in her eyes, said the cuts will affect students and staff.
    Parents wanted to know why more information was not supplied prior to the May levy about potential cuts. They asked why pay-to-play sports hasn’ t been enacted to cut costs. They asked why funds from the state will not allow more staff to be kept.
    Parents wanted to know how the cuts will affect students in advanced programs and their testing scores.
    They wanted to know what they can do to help save the program.
    Superintendent Martin, Board President Bob Campbell and board member Dr. Victor Pinheiro tried to answer their questions and concerns.
    “We must play the hand we were dealt,” observed Pinheiro, who has a son and daughter in the program. “We don’t like making cuts but it is about money.”
    Martin said the administration is working on the program but until the additional funding is available from the state and federal government nothing concrete can be done.
    Campbell pointed out the program is not being eliminated but there will be changes due to budget cuts.
    A prolonged discussion followed with questioning parents and Campbell who attempted to address concerns. Both sides were respectful in their exchanges and the concerns and worries that evolved were dealt with in a serious and a constructive fashion.
    New superintendent, Mike Nutter, will begin officially working in Green July 1, a month earlier then anticipated. He thanked the parents for their concerns and constructive comments.
    Following the meeting there were several discussions with parents, Nutter and board members regarding cuts.
    Patty Schehl from the city of Green gave a presentation on a grant the city received for Safe Route to Schools. This program is designed look at ways to improve pedestrian and bike traffic to schools. The focus on the plan is to help improve student physical through more exercise if they walk to school, cut down on traffic congestion, and reduce auto emissions and fuel consumption. The program will explore improvement of foot and bike movement in the middle, intermediate, and Kleckner triangle. It was pointed out that in 1969 42 percent of students walked or biked to school. Today only 16 percent still do so. The benefit of children walking to school could cut back on childhood obesity.
    A video highlighted various aspects of the program and the associated benefits. At the current time the grant will allow plans to made for making changes and improvements. These would include new sidewalks, crosswalks and signs. Once a plan has been formulated, the next step will be to look at ways to implement these changes and apply for state and federal funding.The Greenwood and Primary schools will not fall under the plan due to various problems such as distance and lack of suitable access routes.
    Page 2 of 2 - New school treasurer Eydie Snowberger was introduced. She replaced Roy Swartz who retired at the end of May. She is employed at Portage Lakes Career Center as treasurer. She will work full time effective Aug. 1. In the meantime she will work between the two schools.
    It was also announced that Stan Taylor, director of operations, will retire, effective Sept. 30.
    Assistant Superintendent Linda Martin discussed new funding that Green will receive over the next two years. This will amount to a little more than $1 million split equally over the two-year time frame. This will allow some of the laid off personnel to be called back. However, the money is available for two years and will not alleviate the need for additional money if Green schools are to continue offering the same services. The earliest that school employees about calls back will be in July, depending on how quickly the state and federal government respond to waivers Green is submitting.
    Martin also discussed the new summer work schedule where the custodial force will work 10 hours a day, four days per week. This will reduce electric and air conditioning bills by approximately $25,000 over a summer. The buildings will shut down on Fridays aside from the office areas.
    Three Green Middle School students, Ashley Sklack, Emily Baumgardner and Kayla Koerner, as spoke on behalf of vocal music teacher Michelle Poeppelmeier who lost her job as part of the cuts from the levy failure. The three students praised Mrs. "P" as they fondly called her for her caring attitude and teaching skills. A petition signed by GMS students was presented to the board asking for her reinstatement.

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