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School Board Approves Reduction In Title I Program

By Staff | May 20, 2010

Citing a tightening budget, the Emmetsburg Community Schools Board of Education approved reducing the number of students served by the district’s Title I program. The action came Monday night, May 17, during the regular meeting of the board.

At the April meeting, Superintendent John Joynt recommended steps that would reduce Title I Reading at Emmetsburg West Elementary to keep within the Title I budget. Those steps included not filling all of the vacancies left by early retirements in the district:

•  Diana Berkland’s high school special education position will be absorbed by Deena Fries (new to the district) and Zach Hamann (currently teaching high school special education and middle school physical education).

• Sharon Hobart’s middle school special education position will be absorbed by Kari Mueller. Mueller currently works in the Resource Room at the West Elementary and Emmetsburg Catholic School.

• Kari Mueller’s position at the West Elementary will not be filled and her special education position at the Catholic School will be absorbed by Karen Brown (currently teaches elementary Reading Recovery and Title I Reading). Renee Chism (currently teaches elementary Reading Recovery) will be at the West Elementary part-time to teach Title I, while she returns to school to become endorsed in special education.

 “My recommendation is to continue with the proposed budget and reductions,” said Joynt, opening the discussion at the May meeting. “The plan is to spend all of the stimulus money next year, and hold back a little of the regular Title I money to fund an additional year. Then we will likely dip into the Special Education Part B funds to cover Reading Recovery and Title I.”

Karen Brown, Reading Recovery/Title I instructor, was in attendance and addressed the board, “I thought this was a done deal. I learned from Linda Tienter [school board member] that she had more interest about the Reading Recovery program. I just wanted to be here to answer questions.”

Board member Don Hagen questioned how the funding would work.

“We get a second year of stimulus money to spend in Title I, and can possibly fund a third year,” said Joynt.

Joynt explained that the current Title I program cost $107,488 for the 2009-2010 school year. Of that, $78,792 was funded by regular Title I federal money, and $28,596 was funded by federal stimulus dollars. For 2010-2011, Joynt expects $71,000 in federal Title I funding and $20,148 in federal stimulus money for a total of $91,148.

“I feel like we need to save this program. We could fund it fully one more year,” said Linda Tienter. “If these kids don’t get a good foundation in first grade, they’re going to have a bad experience all the way through school and that accounts for some of the problems you get in middle school. I think it’s imperative to keep that program going.”

“We’re not eliminating the program. We’re reducing the number of students served,” Joynt replied. “We can serve eight out of 60 kids with Reading Recovery—that’s 13-percent. I’m very comfortable with that.”

“I don’t think people are aware that a large group of teachers and paraeducators were here at the last meeting to support the Title I program,” Tienter stated. “We also had two letters of support from parents who had children in the program. This is a very important program.”

“I support the program. This keeps it running for many more years,” said Joynt. “We do have other budget concerns. It comes down to reducing somewhere else eventually. We have been over-serving in special education for a long time.”

Joynt described how the district had overspent $225,000 in special education last year. As a result of last year’s overspending, this year’s property tax was raised by 80 cents per $1,000. Joynt also referred to data from Reading Recovery that showed that the program was over-serving 20-percent of eligible students.

Tienter then moved to fund the program as-is for another year. The motion died for lack of a second.

“I can see your point, Linda,” Egland noted.

Board Vice President Steve Pelzer agreed, “It’s obviously a good program. I wish we could fund it fully. I wish we could do more.”

“Hopefully, the preschool will help,” Brown added, referring to the preschool program for four-year olds that will begin at the West Elementary in the fall.

“We all have to live within a budget,” Hagen noted. “We still get to keep the program. Before, they could have 16 in the program. Now, the teachers are going to have to really define those eight that need it most.”

Joynt stated that he needed some direction as how to proceed.

“We could table it until the full board is here,” suggested Tienter, alluding to the absence of Board President Karla Anderson and Board Member Tammy Naig.

Hagen then moved to accept the recommended reduction of funding for Title I, and list the program as a priority so that if additional funding becomes available, an additional four students may be served. Egland seconded the motion, which passed with Tienter voicing the sole nay vote.

Joynt noted that he would put the issue on the board’s fall workshop agenda.

“I’m glad that you see the value of the program,” concluded Brown. “I know this was a hard decision.”

School Board Approves Reduction In Title I Program

By Staff | May 20, 2010

Citing a tightening budget, the Emmetsburg Community Schools Board of Education approved reducing the number of students served by the district’s Title I program. The action came Monday night, May 17, during the regular meeting of the board.

At the April meeting, Superintendent John Joynt recommended steps that would reduce Title I Reading at Emmetsburg West Elementary to keep within the Title I budget. Those steps included not filling all of the vacancies left by early retirements in the district:

•  Diana Berkland’s high school special education position will be absorbed by Deena Fries (new to the district) and Zach Hamann (currently teaching high school special education and middle school physical education).

• Sharon Hobart’s middle school special education position will be absorbed by Kari Mueller. Mueller currently works in the Resource Room at the West Elementary and Emmetsburg Catholic School.

• Kari Mueller’s position at the West Elementary will not be filled and her special education position at the Catholic School will be absorbed by Karen Brown (currently teaches elementary Reading Recovery and Title I Reading). Renee Chism (currently teaches elementary Reading Recovery) will be at the West Elementary part-time to teach Title I, while she returns to school to become endorsed in special education.

 “My recommendation is to continue with the proposed budget and reductions,” said Joynt, opening the discussion at the May meeting. “The plan is to spend all of the stimulus money next year, and hold back a little of the regular Title I money to fund an additional year. Then we will likely dip into the Special Education Part B funds to cover Reading Recovery and Title I.”

Karen Brown, Reading Recovery/Title I instructor, was in attendance and addressed the board, “I thought this was a done deal. I learned from Linda Tienter [school board member] that she had more interest about the Reading Recovery program. I just wanted to be here to answer questions.”

Board member Don Hagen questioned how the funding would work.

“We get a second year of stimulus money to spend in Title I, and can possibly fund a third year,” said Joynt.

Joynt explained that the current Title I program cost $107,488 for the 2009-2010 school year. Of that, $78,792 was funded by regular Title I federal money, and $28,596 was funded by federal stimulus dollars. For 2010-2011, Joynt expects $71,000 in federal Title I funding and $20,148 in federal stimulus money for a total of $91,148.

“I feel like we need to save this program. We could fund it fully one more year,” said Linda Tienter. “If these kids don’t get a good foundation in first grade, they’re going to have a bad experience all the way through school and that accounts for some of the problems you get in middle school. I think it’s imperative to keep that program going.”

“We’re not eliminating the program. We’re reducing the number of students served,” Joynt replied. “We can serve eight out of 60 kids with Reading Recovery—that’s 13-percent. I’m very comfortable with that.”

“I don’t think people are aware that a large group of teachers and paraeducators were here at the last meeting to support the Title I program,” Tienter stated. “We also had two letters of support from parents who had children in the program. This is a very important program.”

“I support the program. This keeps it running for many more years,” said Joynt. “We do have other budget concerns. It comes down to reducing somewhere else eventually. We have been over-serving in special education for a long time.”

Joynt described how the district had overspent $225,000 in special education last year. As a result of last year’s overspending, this year’s property tax was raised by 80 cents per $1,000. Joynt also referred to data from Reading Recovery that showed that the program was over-serving 20-percent of eligible students.

Tienter then moved to fund the program as-is for another year. The motion died for lack of a second.

“I can see your point, Linda,” Egland noted.

Board Vice President Steve Pelzer agreed, “It’s obviously a good program. I wish we could fund it fully. I wish we could do more.”

“Hopefully, the preschool will help,” Brown added, referring to the preschool program for four-year olds that will begin at the West Elementary in the fall.

“We all have to live within a budget,” Hagen noted. “We still get to keep the program. Before, they could have 16 in the program. Now, the teachers are going to have to really define those eight that need it most.”

Joynt stated that he needed some direction as how to proceed.

“We could table it until the full board is here,” suggested Tienter, alluding to the absence of Board President Karla Anderson and Board Member Tammy Naig.

Hagen then moved to accept the recommended reduction of funding for Title I, and list the program as a priority so that if additional funding becomes available, an additional four students may be served. Egland seconded the motion, which passed with Tienter voicing the sole nay vote.

Joynt noted that he would put the issue on the board’s fall workshop agenda.

“I’m glad that you see the value of the program,” concluded Brown. “I know this was a hard decision.”