Jay fourth-graders will stay put

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JAY – School committee members voted against sending fourth-graders to the middle school at a meeting Thursday night.

Superintendent Robert Wall had unveiled a plan to cut more than $660,000 from the district’s budget earlier this month, which if put into effect would decrease the districts 2007-2008 budget from $10.46 million to $9.8 million. Among the proposed cuts was a plan to move fourth-grade students to the middle school, which would have saved the town over $150,000, in part from teacher-sharing.

But Thursday, school board members voted against the measure, citing possible logistical and other difficulties the move could create. “It was not an option the school committee was supporting,” Wall said Friday.

“Even though it was recognized that the move probably wasn’t detrimental to the students, they felt it was best not to consider it,” he said.

Board members also reviewed the personnel cuts Wall had proposed, including cutting the districtwide testing position from five to two days a week, restructuring the food service program, also cutting the IT position and combining that job with the current curriculum coordinator’s job.

In addition, Wall said, committee members are considering eliminating an alternative teaching position and cutting a special ed position, a learning center ed tech position, a library assistant’s position, a business teaching position, and the assistant principal’s position. Consumer science, automotive technology and guidance positions would also be cut to half-time, he said.

No decisions were made on any of the other proposed changes Thursday, Wall said. Instead, the cuts will be discussed with budget committee members at a workshop on Jan. 25.

“The motivation for looking at $600,000 is based on the revaluation in the town and the impact that taxes have on people in the town,” Wall explained. “We want to assure people the effort is being made to be responsive to that.”

“In the end, the savings may not be $600,000 as it nets out, but the school district is making every effort and has over the past few years to reduce the tax commitment for schools.”

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