Saturday, January 22, 2000

Norwood schools cut teachers

Other staff also reduced

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        NORWOOD — As expected, 12 teaching positions and the jobs of 15 part-time teachers' aides, a high school counselor, two administrative positions and two secretaries were eliminated Thursday night by the Norwood City School Board.

        Projected cuts in some sports and music programs, however, were “put on hold and we will discuss them in February,” said Barbara Rider, who was promoted at the meeting from interim superintendent to superintendent of the district of about 3,000 students. Her appointment is effective Feb. 1.

        “The approved cuts total about $1.2 million. This is due to a need to reduce costs ... and declining enrollment,” Ms. Rider said. The district has seen enrollment drop by about 75 students a year for the past five years.

        The teaching positions being eliminated include eight elementary school jobs, three in the middle school and one in the high school, Ms. Rider said.

        Also eliminated was a visiting teaching position with responsibility for home visits to truants. The district will also drop its Early Identification Program for kindergarten, designed to spot incoming youngsters who are ill-prepared, particularly in reading, the superintendent said.

        The administrative positions being cut are curriculum director and assistant superintendent for instruction — the position held by Ms. Rider until she was named interim superintendent in September — and an assistant principal at the middle school. Those two jobs account for about $170,000 in salary, retirement contributions and other benefits.

        “All of these positions were valuable to our students and we had good employees filling them. We just need to reduce expenses to meet our budget,” Ms. Rider said.

        An emergency 3.4-mill levy that generates $686,000 a year expires in December. The board will consider placing it on the August ballot for renewal and possibly ask voters to increase the millage, she said.

        The board also decided to trim $117,000 from a contribution to the operation of the Drake Planetarium, housed in the high school but open to other school districts. Ms. Rider said she hopes an agreement can be restructured between Norwood schools and the Tristate Education and Technology Foundation, a philanthropic organization that helps oversee the funding and operations of the planetarium.

        The foundation, a group of volunteers, was formed in 1982 to raise money to reopen and maintain Drake Planetarium. It is used by Norwood students and is a popular field trip destination. Tabled until February are decisions concerning elimination of freshman volleyball, basketball and cheerleading; reserve golf programs; and the high school pep band.


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