School board approves reduction in staff as cost-saving measure

As part of its “consent agenda,” members of the Huntington County Community School Corporation Board of Trustees approved the reduction of staff positions in an effort to save money.

At its regular meeting Monday, Jan. 27, the board heard that the position of recently-departed Network Engineer Ryan Wall will be absorbed by five other members of the technology department, with salary increases for those taking over those duties.

Wall’s salary was $73,112. The cost for the salary adjustments is $18,816, saving the school district $54,296.

“One thing that we have worked on here is trying to right-size the district,” said Superintendent Chad Daugherty. “One thing that we have asked our directors and administrators to look at are positions.”

In the same vein, the board also approved the reduction of up to seven certified staff positions for the 2020-21 school year.  

Daugherty said the district may not use all seven reductions, but may have a reduction in some positions due to attrition.

The vote was 6-0, with Board Member Gary McClellan absent.

In other action the board unanimously gave the go-ahead to advertise a request for proposals for network switches using E-Rate funding. Assistant Superintendent for Business and Classified Staff Scott Bumgardner explained that E-Rate helps pay for the corporation’s internet service and similar services.

E-Rate pays for 70 percent to 80 percent of the bill, Bumgardner added.

Bids are due to HCCSC by Feb. 11, and the board is expected to vote on acceptance at its Feb. 24 meeting.

The board also heard some good news from Bumgardner about its finances for the 2019 year-end report.

The year-end cash balance of the corporation’s education fund is $7,732,879.12; the balance of the operations fund is $2,495,230.31; debt service is $2,686,023.08; and the rainy day fund balance is $1,697,068.18. Bumgardner described the corporation’s financial funds as “stabilized.”

“I think it was a very good year for our district, as far as financially,” he said. “I think we took a lot of care of a lot of issues. I think we handed out pay raises as we could, and at the same time we are sitting cash balances in both our education fund and operations fund, and are able to build on our rainy day fund.”

Bumgardner added the district was only carrying enough cash on hand two years ago to pay for two payrolls.

Concluding the meeting, Board President Mathew Roth extended his thanks to those who came to the public work session on Jan. 18. More than 60 people attended the meeting.

“I think we received some good information from those that addressed the board. I know there were a lot of discussions afterward,” he said.

Roth said all school board members are available to communicate with the public via cell phone, email and other means.

“I would just encourage us all to continue dialogue going forward,” he added. “That was the first step toward new solutions for the issues that we have.”