After weeks of deliberation with educators, administrators and the public, the Monroe County Community School Corporation School Board has approved a budget which allocates the funds raised by a November ballot measure. The trustees voted unanimously on a recommendation which many view as a compromise between a budget put forward by district officials and a proposal issued by a group of concerned citizens.
The initial measure called for the creation of a specific number of classroom aide positions for each level of schooling. However, under an amendment proposed by board member Jeannine Butler, those positions would be converted to a dollar value which will be at the disposal of school principals. Ben Robinson was part of the ad hoc committee which submitted a proposal seeking to restore all positions and programs cut as a result of funding shortfalls in early 2010. He says while the final budget is a compromise, it does go some distance in addressing concerns raised by his group.
“I think the fundamental issues aren’t going to go away,” said Robinson. “I think once you’ve engaged people through a referendum, they’re going to have expectations.”
Bloomington North Principal Jeff Henderson is one of the administrators now charged with distributing the “employment dollars”. He says he will use class enrollment data to determine the best use of those funds.
“The thing that I have that I can fall back on are statistics; how many kids signed up for this course,” said Henderson.
A second amendment proposed by board member Sue Wanzer – and later adopted — pointedly addressed the concerns raised during public dialogue. The additional measure uses money earmarked for the district’s reserve fund to restore two high school counselor positions and a halftime band director job. The amendment also creates a spot for a full-time middle school foreign language instructor.