were high as Interim Superintendent Steve Gookins presented
his recommendations for reductions and cuts for the calendar
year 2010 at a special meeting at the Milan Elementary School
on Tuesday, April 13. According to Interim Superintendent Gookins,
there is an estimated $365,000 needed to begin the 2010-2011
The goal is to keep Milan School Corporation solvent,
protect academic programs, and to be the most efficient with
the finances, Gookins said.
According to Gookins, about 85 percent of the general fund budget
is slated for salaries. He has also met with certified and non-certified
personnel, as well as reviewing all citizen check lists returned
to the office and met with any parent that requested a meeting.
Currently, the state provides funding for the schools and is
no longer based on property taxes as in the past. The state
provides about $5400 per student, which follows the student
when moving to another school.
Funds are determined by an average daily membership of students
with kindergarten counting as half. According to calculations
made by Gookins, there was a total of 1229.5 students enrolled
in September. As of the day of the meeting, there were 23 fewer
students attending Milan schools.
Declining enrollment is a concern, according to Gookins. Currently,
there are 106 seniors and 68 kindergarten students. Enrollment
is a big factor when the state gives the funds, said Gookins.
The following non-certified recommendations, which includes
custodians, secretaries, and instructional aides, were made:
Reduce non-certified wages by 6 percent effective July
Reduce the number of hours as needed with volunteer reductions
Eliminate the Speech Language Assistant position, which
is shared with South Ripley School Corporation.
Do not fill any vacancies due to retirement or voluntary
Eliminate the non-certified pay scheduled and develop
an evaluation system based on performance instead of longevity.
Recommended cuts for the administrative staff included:
Pay the interim superintendent salary of $8500 per month
out of capital projects fund instead of the general fund.
Place all administrative staff and directors on Plan
C health insurance, which will not see any savings until January
1, 2011. According to Gookins, the administrative staff currently
pays $1 per year for their health insurance as part of their
benefits package. The change will take place when the insurance
carrier allows the change.
Reduce two administrative positions effective July 1.
One administrator will return to the classroom full time and
the other will return to the classroom part time until the end
of the contract on June 30, 2011.
Eliminate the board monthly stipend effective May 1 for
a savings of $3500.
Freeze salaries/wages at the July 1, 2008 level and eliminate
the administrative salary schedule.
Cuts recommended for the certified staff include:
Reduce 8 teaching positions. Gookins noted that one teacher
is retiring and another position is currently filled by a full
time substitute and will not be replaced.
Two positions will be taken by administrative staff bringing
a net reduction of 6 certified positions. According to Gookins,
this is approximately an 8 percent reduction in the teaching
There are additional savings expected due to a tentative
agreement with the Milan Educators Association negotiations.
More information was not available at the time of the meeting,
according to Gookins.
Other suggestions for reductions include dropping summer school,
but offer credit recovery to high school students through Indiana
Virtual Academy at no cost to the school or student. Also, use
a Gifted and Talented grant for AP salaries vs. stipends for
It was recommended to raise drivers education fees $50.
Gookins noted that this course is offered as a courtesy and
is not required by the state for credit. I believe the
program should be self-sustaining, he said.
Snow removal and mowing contracts were moved from the general
fund to the capital project fund and bid on an hourly basis
as opposed to a contracted amount in the past. According to
school board president Tim Tuttle, in 2009 the cost for snow
removal was $20,000. Since bidding on an hourly basis, snow
removal only cost the school about $6,000.
Also recommended, the transfer of funds from bus replacement,
transportation, and food service as per HB1367 to set up a rainy-day
The fifth grade was recommended to continue at the elementary
school to balance the administrative duties and will incur no
Gookins concluded that he and the board will continue to explore
savings in utilities, dues, and other areas.
There are financial expenses that affect the total savings if
the recommendations are implemented. For example, lane changes,
health insurance, severance for the retiring teacher, and payment
of unemployment insurance for dismissed employees for 16 weeks
After the liabilities are considered, an estimated savings for
the school corporation will be $308,200 leaving an additional
$56,800 to begin the 2010-2011 school year.
The recommendations will be carefully considered by the board,
according to Gookins, for a decision to be made at the regular
board meeting on Monday, April 19 beginning at 7 p.m. at the
Milan Elementary School.
Several patrons had the opportunity to speak out and ask questions
during the public comment portion of the meeting. One main concern
was about the special ed program.
MSC is contracted with ROD (Ripley, Ohio, Dearborn) in Sunman
for assistance with the special ed program. Gookins noted that
funding at ROD is being reduced, which in turn affects Milan.
Parents are also concerned about the termination of a middle
school special education teacher which requires moving students
to the high school or the elementary.
When questioned about the physical education program, Gookins
noted that the state required PE class will continue, but other
PE program considered electives will be eliminated.
Gookins assured the patrons attending that his goal is to protect
the financial integrity of Milan schools. At a special meeting
held earlier this year, Gookins explained that if a school is
not financially solvent then the state will take over the school.
I dont look back, continued Gookins. Im
not blaming anyone We have to look forward.
The power point presentation on the recommended cuts and reductions
can be found by visiting the Milan School Corporation website
at www.milan.k12.us. Gookins noted that a summary of the teacher
negotiations will be available on the website at a later date.
was standing room only as several patrons of the Milan
School Corporation listened to recommended reductions
in order to remain solvent and protect academic programs.
The meeting was held Tuesday, April 12 in the elementary