Wednesday, April 25, 2018
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School board makes choice to cut classes

RIF notices approved for five teachers.

High school students in Brady could have fewer courses to choose from next year after the board of education voted Monday night to cut nine classes from five subject areas.

It’s a worst-case scenario that administrators and board members hope isn’t necessary but they say being prepared for sizable state aid cuts is their only option.

During a special meeting Monday, the school board voted unanimously to authorize Reduction in Force (RIF) notices for five teachers because courses in their areas will be dropped and their hours cut to save the district money in the wake of an uncertain budget.

“I think everyone needs to know that we really don’t want to cut any of these classes,” said board member Matt Hatch. “It’s certainly nothing personal.”

Two classes each will be removed from industrial tech, family and consumer science, music and physical education. One course is being cut from art.

That drops music teacher Val Pohlman and P.E. instructor T.J. Nielsen from full-time to part-time teachers. The other three—Ray Blede, Patty Cordell and Kelley Dachtler—are already working part time.

Eliminating those classes would cut the equivalent of one teacher from the payroll without the district losing any people, board president Lisa Diehl explained to a full audience.

“I appreciate that we’re spreading out and dividing the pain rather than eliminating anyone,” Diehl said.

That doesn’t make the cuts any easier for parents to take.

“Why not cut new staff members instead of teachers who have been in our system for many years?” asked parent Becky Parker. “There must be some other cuts that could be made instead of our teachers.”

Board members explained that the classes being removed are above and beyond the state’s requirements for accredited districts and no one will lose his or her job.

“This is a last resort,” said board member Marge Spencer.

Unfortunately for the district, it can’t come at the end of the budget process, though.

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