Eighteen teachers should be laid off to help cut $1.6 million from the 1993-94 budget, the Westminster School District Board of Education has decided. But the board delayed ruling on whether to end a popular sixth-grade instrumental music program.
"This is just not a pleasant experience," said Trustee Ron Morgan at a special meeting last week. "All cuts are negative and will have a negative impact on the students and the employees."
The board's cuts closely resembled those recommended by Supt. Gail Wickstrom, although the board refused to eliminate the music program immediately, placing it instead on the second tier of reductions.
The board voted unanimously to lay off the 18 teachers, saving $802,000, and reduce teachers' health and welfare benefits by $300,000. However, those reductions remain tentative because they are subject to negotiations with the two employees' unions.
Further, the board decided to cut the district administrative budget by $60,000. It also authorized the district to promptly spend half of the $660,000 lottery money it receives from the state, ending the practice of saving the full amount for the following budget year.
The board also approved a second tier of cuts totaling $1.2 million, which would be implemented in part or in full if necessary. Approval of those cuts was required to provide employees with legally mandated notice that their positions could be eliminated.
The second level of cuts includes $59,000 more from the district administrative budget, as well as a nurse, a psychologist, an elementary school counseling program, a maintenance worker, seven custodial positions, 18 part-time health aides and the sixth-grade instrumental music program.
What cuts are made from that list, if any, will be decided after negotiating with the two district employees' unions and learning how much revenue the district will receive from the state, which is facing its own budget problems.
The only item from Wickstrom's recommended cuts that the board spared from either list was a $40,000 district intervention program aimed at providing counseling for problem students.