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Staff Cuts, Furloughs Help Baldwin-Whitehall Balance its Budget

Some teaching and other staff positions will be eliminated for 2012-13.

The Baldwin-Whitehall School Board rejected a proposal by B-W School District administrators at a meeting on Wednesday night to , opting instead for .

But proposal rejections by the school board were still rare on Wednesday, as the board also approved the elimination of several teaching and other staff positions in  in order to balance its 2012-13 budget.

Gone for 2012-13 are the positions of director of pupil services, assistant transportation manager and technology department technician. And the employees assigned to those positions—Virginia Deasy, David Sparrow and Paul Huwalt, respectively—have each been furloughed.

Also eliminated were one English, science and social studies teacher at ; the half-time equivalent of a district-wide nursing position; 1.5 full-time equivalents of custodial positions at , one full-time equivalent of custodial positions at J.E. Harrison Middle; 0.5 full-time equivalents of custodial positions at ; one full-time equivalent of custodial positions at ; 0.75 full-time equivalents of custodial positions at ; one full-time equivalent of custodial positions at the ; and a secretarial position at Baldwin High.

Those cuts will cause more employees to be furloughed. The exact individuals to meet that fate will be in accordance with the district's collective bargaining agreements.

The board did reject a proposal to eliminate one district-wide maintenance position, meaning that that position will be kept.

None of Wednesday's decisions came easy for the board, which twice went into closed, executive sessions that night—the first for 48 minutes and the other for 10.

The pupil services position was cut by a 7-2 vote with board members Diana Kazour and Ray Rosing voting 'no.' The transportation position was cut by a 6-3 vote with Kazour, Tracy Macek and Larry Pantuso voting 'no.' And the technology position was cut by a 7-2 vote with Kazour and Macek opposed.

An item combining the teaching and nursing cuts and another item regarding the secretarial cut were both approved by 9-0 votes, but votes for custodial and maintenance cuts were split—7-2 in favor of custodial cuts and 6-3 against the maintenance cut.

Kazour and Pantuso voted against both the custodial and maintenance cuts. They were joined in keeping the maintenance position by Macek, Rosing, George L. Pry and Nancy Sciulli DiNardo.

Sciulli DiNardo stressed that the decision to eliminate any position in the district is always a hard one to make.

"They are not easy decisions for any one of us," she said, quipping later that some of the employees set to be furloughed "used to be our friends prior to our vote."

She then supported the board's decisions by saying, "We cannot continue to be everything for everybody."

With the exception of saving the maintenance position, Sciulli DiNardo and Pry voted "yes" to all other proposed staff cuts and furloughs on Wednesday night. Fellow board members Nancy Lee Crowder, Kevin J. Fischer and board President John B. Schmotzer voted "yes" to every cut and furlough.

Schmotzer has defended the staff cuts, saying that they do "not reduce any education programs whatsoever."

Dr. Randal A. Lutz, who will become the district's head superintendent on July 1, called the administration's recommended budget, which included the cuts, "the right thing to do" and "the responsible thing to do."

"These section reductions are not cuts to programs," Lutz said in regard to the teaching cuts specifically, citing factors like "student population" and "student grade level counts" as the reasons for staff reductions.

"Some years, you have larger classes that are rolling through, and you need to add teachers," he said. "Other years, you have smaller classes that roll through, and then, not as many sections are necessary.

"This is something that, actually, is a process that we follow every single year."

He added that the nursing cut will only affect how Baldwin-Whitehall will staff approved private schools in the district, not the public schools that are overseen by district administrators.

As for the custodial cuts, Schmotzer said that none of those positions is currently filled by a full-time employee.

But Baldwin High custodian Jeffrey Pfaff, of Lucy Drive in , used public comments time near the beginning of Wednesday's meeting to speak against the proposed cuts to the high school's custodial staff.

Pfaff said that the high school, in his opinion, is "not cleaned properly" and "not taken care of properly."

Nevertheless, the board elected to cut custodial staffing at Baldwin H.S. by 1.5 full-time position equivalents.

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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Jean Smith June 18, 2012 at 11:38 PM
The Dean of Students position is here to stay since I don't see them cutting the football team at the school. I honestly would of rather had a hike in my school taxes then for them to cut positions and the Technology Budget.
Robert Edward Healy, III June 19, 2012 at 12:07 AM
Correct, Jean. They can be reimbursed for such matters.
Common Sense June 20, 2012 at 12:53 PM
Wayne, I don't think it is twice as much that was probably stretching it by Fighting Highlander. The top of the scale teachers make over 90k where some of the 12 month administrators don't make close to 90k even though they work roughly 50 or so more days then teachers. I believe you can find all of the salaries of teachers and school employees on a website. It would be interesting to compare salaries with the different large schools in the surrounding areas.
Common Sense June 20, 2012 at 05:10 PM
Good catch and great point ML. I just think too many people look directly at the top to point fingers. I am not saying that they shouldn't, they should just know the facts and look at the bigger picture first.
Jean Smith June 21, 2012 at 12:56 AM
If teachers are there for all Professional Development Days and take one class every 5 years then their teaching Certificate does not go to inactive. The traditional route to becoming a public school teacher involves completing a bachelor's degree from a teacher education program and then obtaining a license. However, most States now offer alternative routes to licensure for those who have a college degree in other fields. Private school teachers do not have to be licensed but still need a bachelor's degree. A bachelor's degree may not be needed by preschool teachers and vocational education teachers, who need experience in their field rather than a specific degree.
Jean Smith June 21, 2012 at 10:20 AM
Professional Development Days - Student achievement is linked to numerous factors, but quality teachers are one of the most important components of student success. If a school district's teachers do not have the tools they need to teach students effectively, their students will suffer. To teach effectively, teachers need access to ongoing teacher professional development. This professional development enables teachers to improve their own education through seminars, workshops, and classes. Through teacher professional development, teachers learn new teaching strategies to improve the quality of instruction. This allows them to make changes in the way they teach their students, incorporating innovative teaching methods in the classroom. It teaches them how to work with a variety of learning styles, since not all students learn the same way. It also helps teachers change their day-to-day teaching methods, encouraging them to accept new methods based on accurate education research. Professional development usually takes place when school is not in session. Most teacher professional development occurs in the evening, on weekends, or during the summer. School districts also schedule professional development days throughout the school year. During these days, students are dismissed early from school or have a day off from school. This provides teachers, teaching assistants, and administrative staff the opportunity to participant in training and workshops.
Common Sense June 21, 2012 at 01:16 PM
I agree with you ML. Teachers have a tough job and most people who haven't walked a mile in their shoes just simply point to the summers off and think that they have the best jobs in America. Teachers have a huge impact on student's learning and them as people and I think we need to give these people credit for doing what they are doing. If you have a problem with a certain teacher then call them and try and straighten out the problem and if that doesn't work then talk to an administrator. This process is just like calling a department store about something that wasn't right, if they give you the run around then talk to the manager. In the crazy world we live in, we want to focus on the few bad apples instead of the good apples. I estimate that there are about 400 teachers within BWSD and we always want to talk about the handful of bad ones instead of the great ones.
Vas June 22, 2012 at 07:05 PM
haha more silliness. I am fine with them raising taxes as long as it is yours not mine.
cc June 23, 2012 at 12:51 AM
Vas it isn't silliness when our school rating keeps on dropping because they take away from our kids education. Our kids are so far behind in classes now when they are trying to get into CCAC. They have to take high school Math, English and Science before they can earn college credits. Our Technical Dept is a joke, most of the computers up the High School are broken. The kids are on web sites that they shouldn't be on because they don't have enough staff to monitor what they are doing. I see the day coming soon when were going to get slammed with our taxes being raised 2 mills at one time. I would rather have it raised gradually then slammed all at one time.
Jean Smith June 23, 2012 at 12:59 AM
There is a big difference between a Private School and Catholic School. Also Catholic schools hire their own nurse, were as Private schools depend on public schools to supply them. Private schools, also known as independent schools, are not administered by local, state or national governments; thus, they retain the right to select their students and are funded in whole or in part by charging their students tuition, rather than relying on public (state) funds. While Catholic schools are education ministries of the Roman Catholic Church. Presently, the Church operates the world's largest non-governmental school system. These schools aim to develop their students through participation in the sacramental life of the Church, study of religion and theology, a full curriculum in secular subjects, and a variety of extracurricular activities. AND school uniforms are often a requirement for students in Catholic schools.
cc June 23, 2012 at 01:40 AM
Common Sense the fact is that they are taking away from our children education not improving on classes, adding more into technology and what the students need. Our children who apply at CCAC and upon taking the entrance test are finding out that they are way behind the other students and they have to take 1 or 2 semesters of English, Math, Algebra or Science which should of been taught in High School. Students aren't getting the classes that they need and by dropping more teachers and cutting classes our children will fall farther behind.
cc June 23, 2012 at 01:49 AM
maybe because you have a ged or only a high school education might be why you don't understand.
cc June 23, 2012 at 02:13 AM
Funny story that parents took over for striking teaching in New York City some years back and then joined the teachers on the picket line. Funny but no proof that this happen at all.
Common Sense June 25, 2012 at 11:02 PM
ML, I like that you show the facts to support your points. I like to form opinions on facts as well and try not to get wrapped up in some of these comments on here when people just base their opinions on pure emotion and are ignorant to the facts. I am one of those people that try and see the good in things and try and look at things from a point of view that is reasonable. I had a teacher in high school who wasn't the best, but I didn't go on websites and bash the entire school district. I took the good with the bad and realized that overcoming things like a bad teacher in high school was just practice for how life works and did things like get a tutor or ask friends or my parents for help so that I could pass the class, you know good old fashioned hard work outside of the 7:30 to 2:30 school day.
cc June 26, 2012 at 12:55 AM
ml, here is where parents close to us picked against the teachers in Bethel Park and they didn't join the teachers on the picket line but picked against them. Parents picketing against striking Bethel teachers http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/breaking/parents-picketing-against-striking-bethel-teachers-271601/ Some Bethel Park parents plan to protest the teachers strike tomorrow morning when negotiations take place again between the teachers union and the school district. "Our bottom line right now is that we want the school board to stand their ground," said Amy Shay, mother of two Bethel Park High School students and one of the organizers of the protest. "Instead of being neutral, we are formally against the union and the teachers. We feel that in this economy they are paid quite well, better than most in the country, and that they need to pay a little bit more for their health care." Parents protested the teachers picketing outside the Bethel Park administration building on Church Road on Wednesday evening and this morning, Ms. Shay said.
cc June 26, 2012 at 01:29 AM
Parents to protest over Sinfin teachers strike http://www.thisisderbyshire.co.uk/Parents-protest-teachers-strike/story-11579005-detail/story.html PARENTS of children at a Derby school are to stage a protest march about teachers going on strike. Sinfin Community School will close for three days next week in what will be the longest strike in Derbyshire's education history. Teachers at the school are angry about plans to turn it into an academy, opting out of local authority control. But parents argue that the strike will put their children's education at risk.
cc June 26, 2012 at 01:35 AM
ml, there are many stories on the net about parents that protest and picket because teachers are greedy in wanting 25% and above in pay raises and squawk at them having to pay a portion of their own health insurance. These teachers want to make big bucks so let them pay their own insurance , their own pension and take a 1% to 2 1/2 % pay raise like the rest of American's get. How many years was it now that people collecting Social Security didn't get a raise and they insulted them this year with the lousy pay increase that they got since obama was in office.
cc June 26, 2012 at 01:42 AM
Common Sense, our school district is on a downhill spiral and has been since this administration and school board has been in place. They think about themselves and not the students that they are hurting. Our students who graduate and going to CCAC have to take courses that they should of been taught in High School and have to pay for these classes and don't get credits for them because they can't pass their entrance test. Go call CCAC ans ask them and i'm sure you won't like what you hear, that the students that apply from Baldwin High School are way behind other school districts.
cc June 26, 2012 at 01:44 AM
Baldwin doesn't hire the cream of the crop teachers, they tend to hire from the bottom of the barrel.
Common Sense June 26, 2012 at 03:28 AM
CC, you said 2.5% pay raises was normal for most professions, so I can't see why their is so much madness over the admin 3% raises who work 12 months. The teachers get about the same raise and work 10 months. They also cut an admin position at the last board meeting from what I understand. There also could be a reason some students are going to CCAC...
Common Sense June 26, 2012 at 02:01 PM
ML, I don't have anything against CCAC and think that community college is the right option for people. However, those who have trouble getting accepted into major colleges right out of high school who also attend CCAC.. That is why I made the comment that maybe some of these people are going to CCAC. CC, Baldwin doesn't hire cream of the crop teachers??? How do you even know this is true? The truth of the matter is that there are several hundred applicants for one teaching position at every school district in Allegheny County. You interview the candidates and then sometimes they teach a lesson and a lot of times you don't get the whole picture from a few interviews. The process is difficult and is done the same way other professions do their hiring.
BaldwinMom June 26, 2012 at 02:48 PM
As the parent of two graduates of Baldwin who both have attended CCAC, I can tell you for a FACT that Baldwin does NOT prepare students for college; that is, not ALL students who wish to attend college. Perhaps the straight A students, because, of course, they NEED it, don't they. But the students who are in learning support are encouraged to go to a vocational school or just get a job and live with it, because they feel that is all they will accomplish. I experienced that. My son was a learning support student and they had us to go Steel Center. We went. Not interested. They told me he should go there. I said no. He went to CCAC where he had a rough start because he was not prepared from high school. He had to take and PAY for classes he should have had at Baldwin that my tax dollars pay for. After he took these classes he has blossomed and had been on the Dean's List for 5 semesters in a row. No thanks to Baldwin. PARENTS; WAKE UP. UNLESS YOUR KID IS ONE OF THEIR SO CALLED "GIFTED" STUDENTS, THEY DO NOT CARE. STAY ON TOP OF THINGS; BE INVOLVED; MAKE SURE THEY KNOW YOUR NAME. THIS IS THE ONLY CHANCE YOUR KID HAS IN HIGH SCHOOL. THEY DON'T CARE .. AS LONG AS THEY ARE GETTING PAID, THEIR DAYS OFF, THEIR HEALTHCARE PAID FOR, THEIR SUMMERS OFF, THEY DO NOT CARE. I CANNOT TELL YOU HOW GLAD I AM I HAVE NO MORE OF MY CHILDREN IN THIS HORRIBLE SCHOOL DISTRICT. SAD THING IS IS THAT I HAVE TO PAY THE OUTRAGEOUS SCHOOL TAXES UNTIL I SELL MY HOME TO SOMEONE.
BaldwinMom June 26, 2012 at 02:55 PM
AND JUST FOR THE RECORD ..... THESE WERE THE COUNSELORS, ETC. AT CCAC WHO INFORMED US THAT OUR KIDS WERE NOT PREPARED TO GO TO CCAC BECAUSE OF THE POOR TEST SCORES AND THE FACT THAT CERTAIN MATH, ENGLISH CLASSES WERE NOT GIVEN. They told me that they get more kids from BALDWIN than any other district who are not prepared, who don't have the basic skills, etc. How pathetic is that? Oh yes, there are those from Baldwin who go on to good schools and have what they need and God bless them that they might be smarter or work a little harder. But why do we let these others who want to go further with their education, why do we let them slip through the cracks? I have nothing good to say about the school board, administration and 98% of the teachers in the district. There are and have been some decent teachers and we were lucky to get a few along the way. There was even a teacher, back about 10 years ago who actually told me about the summer program for kids with learning disabilities. He said no one was privy to it but he wanted me to know so that I could demand it for my son. He swore me to secrecy because if it came out that he told me about this he could be punished and lose his job. Why are we not made aware of the programs (if any) that are available to our students? I never gave up this man's name and never will. He cared.
Common Sense June 26, 2012 at 07:04 PM
If you think the grass is greener on the other side than move!
Common Sense June 26, 2012 at 07:12 PM
Baldwin Mom, I am glad that your children did well. Some students need more time to develop and CCAC is perfect for them or students who are undecided or financially can't afford to go away right away. There is nothing wrong with going to CCAC. Baldwin gave your children possibly 13 years of education and I'm sure that something they learned helped them make the Deans list. I don't have any children in the school system yet, but I am a Baldwin grad and so is the rest of my family and my sons will be as well. I am proud to be a Baldwin grad and it's certain people like you and the rest of the people that point the finger at others and complain too much.
cc June 26, 2012 at 09:20 PM
Common Sense and ML know it all about the school and are the experts on everything. How dare you tell someone to move. Our school district is a joke, starting with the administration down to the Cream of the Crop teachers you think are in the school district. They hire the bottom of the barrel because teachers don't want to come to Baldwin. Baldwin Mom, they have to take high school classes at Pitt, Penn State, Clarion, etc also, because Baldwin doesn't prepare our students for college, they are just greedy people that want big fat pay raises for doing nothing and that is what they do nothing. Neither one of these people have kids in Baldwin but they are experts. Since 1998 Baldwin drops every year in Ratings and I give it another 5 years and they will be at the end of the list. Thank goodness that their are great Cyber Schools and Charter Schools around as many parents are pulling their children out of the district. Maybe ML and Common Sense should of been down a the Charter School Open House down in Homestead. There was more parents from Baldwin then any other school district there and none of the parents had anything nice to say about Baldwin and the school district.
Jean Smith June 27, 2012 at 03:33 AM
Very ignorant but your answer doesn't surprise me at all. So glad you and ml can solve all the worlds problems. Maybe the two of you should move on your own personal island so the real would won't hit you in the face head on. For 2 people that doesn't have children in school, your both an expert on all the classes, teachers and everything else that goes on up at the school.
Janet June 27, 2012 at 12:37 PM
I apologize in advance to anyone I may offend with this comment. The cuts have been made, it's obviously a done deal. So why do you continue to bash the school district? Instead of bashing the district or others for their opinion, why not focus on getting parents/taxpayers involved to go to the August 3rd meeting to voice your opinions/concerns to the school board? I do have children still attending school in this district. If comments like Baldwin doesn't prepare the students for college is true, then I would think (only my personal opinion), parents would be packing the board room voicing their concerns. We all know when the board meetings get jammed packed with parents/concerns it gets the school boards attention. I just don't see where attacking individuals is getting anyone. I will say, I just think some individuals do just like stirring the pot to give them something to do when they get on the computer.
Barbara Ri. June 27, 2012 at 01:58 PM
Why apologize? Who are these people offending by telling the truth about their kids' years at the district schools, in particular the grand high school on the hill. I couldn't agree more with their statements actually. My daughter attended Baldwin and graduated in 08. She went on to IUP. She also had to take an English and a Math course that they said she needed. So there was extra tuition money for her education I had not expected. But it was paid for her education. When it came time to send my younger daughter to high school I decided to send her to Seton where we pay big bucks for her tuition but she helps out with working. We decided not to send her to Baldwin so that she might get the better education in Seton and that was our choice, I know. And I realize there are those students who will come out of there who are able to do anything, who are better than when they entered, who are (in their parents and some teachers minds) "little geniuses" and that is a wonderful thing. But we need to focus on those kids who seem to fall through the cracks, who also deserve to come out of there better and more educated than when they entered. Those kids deserve the education just as much as little Susie Einstein or the son or daughter of a school board member or a teacher. I applaud these parents for coming forward, even if some feel it is an attack of some sort, to say how Baldwin turns out some graduates. These are our kids ... fight for each one!
Janet June 27, 2012 at 05:11 PM
Barbara my point is that these same parents do not go and fill the board room for meetings about their concerns. They're quick to put their comments on the Patch, but won't attend public meetings to get the word out to the public right in front of the school board members. Yes it is so much easier and less effort to put out of our busy schedules to post something on the Patch than go to a meeting, but if it is that important to a parent they somehow find a way to attend a meeting to get the boards attention.

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