By Justin Schmidt, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
ST JOSEPH, MO (KCTV) -
St. Joseph School District has voted to cut $3 million, with much coming from reduced technology for students.
Every student at Truman Middle School now has an iPad, and parents say the district is known for its innovation. But the board voted to cut $843,000 in technology spending. Funding will be reduced from $250 per student to $175 per student. No longer will the district be buying iPads for students.
District officials say they had no choice because they wanted to avoid tax increases.
But some parents like W.A. Hedge have their doubts.
"The most important person in the classroom is the teacher, but it's a very important tool to move beyond the classroom," said Hedge, whose grandson attends Truman Middle. "By reducing expenditures on tech, what will it cost in the future? There's one thing we know for sure - technology isn't going anywhere. That's how we're educating and communicating around the world."
School board President Dan Colgan said the goal is to make small cuts now to avoid big cuts later. He said with state funding stagnant and property tax revenue down that cuts had to be made.
Colgan and other board members said they want to keep spending reductions away from the classroom. But district officials warn more cuts are likely in the future and say these cuts approved this week will have a significant impact on day-to-day operations and the classroom.
The district is shedding jobs. Part of a team of instructional tech specialists was cut.
"We've had great professional development from our instructional technology team. Teachers were trained on latest strategies to use the tech in their classrooms," said Truman Middle Principal Sandy Steggall. "Now that burden will fall on teachers themselves and administrators to move forward in involving tech in our classrooms."
She said she understands that funding is tight.
"Even with the cuts, we're going to teach kids with the best resources we have," she said.
The board also approved the reduction of eight secondary staff and two elementary staff positions, the elimination of 3 1/2 instructional tech specialists and the elimination of five paraprofessionals and the position of associate superintendent for curriculum instruction and assessment.
Certified teachers losing their jobs will be offered other jobs. Some jobs will be lost through attrition.
The St. Joseph district has about 11,400 students.
Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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