A high school wood shop teacher and a choir teacher have been cut and an art teacher reduced to part time as part of Waterloo’s reduction in force.
The Waterloo Board of Education approved the suspension of the two contracts and the third being reduced to part time at its meeting Thursday night.
Affected were the 2019-20 contracts of wood shop teacher Jack Edwards and choir teacher Nick Modney; art teacher Pam Shawgo will work part time. Edwards and Modney were in their second year of teaching, Shawgo her fifth.
Board action needed to be taken at the April board meeting so proper notice could be given to the teachers, Superintendent Shawn Braman said. If the district’s proposed 1.25-percent income tax levy is passed at the May 7 election, however, he said all three educators would be brought back full time.
The last time new money was passed was in 2013 when a 5.9-mill five-year levy was approved, Treasurer Todd Carpenter said. It was renewed in 2018. With discussion of the levy came conversation about a proposed funding model currently working its way through the state government.
Waterloo would receive $290,000 over the next two years if the proposed funding model by state Reps. Robert Cupp and John Patterson take effect. Braman said though no one knows what the formula looks like at this point, he thinks it deserves attention.
“This has been orchestrated by two bipartisan representatives who have had a lot of experience in public education,” Braman said. “There are a group of educators who have been involved from the beginning.”
Braman said the proposed formula, while a good thing, is a process and will take a couple years to get off the ground. In the meantime, the proposed 1.25-percent income tax on the May ballot would give the school the funding it needs now, he noted.
Board member Brian Pusateri said that the proposed Cupp-Patterson formula would hopefully be a way to help the income tax last longer.
“Even if it was in effect today, it’s going to give us $145,000 a year,” Pusateri said. “We’re at a projected deficit of $900,000 in the next school year. While it’s nice and it would help, it’s certainly not anywhere near a solution.”
Board member Ken Fletcher raised concern about the proposed formula, if passed, would be regressive and impact state funding. Carpenter said he was unsure of the true answer because it still needs to be processed through the legislature.
“This is not going to help our situation for the short-term,” Fletcher said, “This is a longer than shorter process. The monies that we need are reflected in our services today.”
The school board is hosting three events in the near future meant to help educate the public about the levy. A free breakfast will take place April 20 at Atwater Town Hall. A levy Q&A will take place April 23 at the high school. And a free breakfast will be April 27 at the Randolph Senior Center.
Reporter Kaitlyn McGarvey can be reached at email@example.com or 330-298-1127