B-W Schools Will Maintain Nurses, Social Workers Levels
Part 1 of notes from a crowded May 2 school board meeting.
Nurse, Social Worker to Stay
One week after hearing a proposal to save money by dropping at least one nurse and one social worker from Baldwin-Whitehall's public schools, B-W School Board President John B. Schmotzer told an audience of about 60 people on Wednesday night that the board has no intention of making those cuts.
"The board has instructed administration to not consider the elimination of a school nurse and also not to consider the elimination of a social worker," Schmotzer said during the board's monthly agenda meeting at the district office along Curry Road.
At a special 2012-13 budget meeting on April 25, district administration presented to the board a number of cost-saving and revenue-generating opportunities that could help bridge the gap of a $1.3-million district budget shortfall and/or prevent a sizable district tax hike—two of those opportunities being staff cuts in nursing and social work.
For example, Baldwin-Whitehall employs the equivalent of five full-time nurses right now, but only three are required under state law that mandates one nurse per every 1,500 students. (The B-W School District has approximately 4,200 students.)
Not every board member was in favor on April 25 of cutting at least one nurse and one social worker, but enough members were in favor of the idea for it to live on for more rounds of budget debate.
However, on Wednesday night, those staff cuts were taken off of the table.
"This board is committed to providing services necessary for our students," Schmotzer said, "and somehow, in some way, shape or form, we will find a way to do that."
Nevertheless, Schmotzer commended district administration for proposing ideas to the board that might seem unpopular.
"Whenever you're in budget talks, you put everything on the table," Schmotzer said, "and everything needs to be considered. And it's up to us (board members) as elected officials to either vote up or vote down in what is in the best interests—not only financially but for the student body.
"And the board felt that the elimination of a social worker and a nurse was not in the best interest of our students."
Check back with the Baldwin-Whitehall Patch later on Thursday for more odds and ends from Wednesday night's school board meeting.
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