District nixes plan to combine school posts

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Kevin Hoffman
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
— The Williams Bay School Board will weigh options over the next few months to repair its growing deficit, but combining the superintendent and high school principal jobs won't be one of them.

Board members voted unanimously Monday to drop the idea, determining a split administrator might be stretched too thin to effectively manage the district. Board President Peter Miller said the board likely would consider other cuts instead as it develops a plan to chip away at a $600,000 deficit.

"We had talked with the Wisconsin Association of School Boards, and they suggested combining those two jobs is very difficult because the demands of a high school principal (make for) a very long day," Miller said.

"The representative we had that came here had done it himself, and he said it didn't work."

Superintendent Fred Vorlop suggested the idea himself after high school Principal Dan Bice announced he would retire at the end of the 2010-2011 school year.

Miller couldn't provide an exact figure on how much the district would save by merging the duties. Projections made available during a public hearing Feb. 8 indicated combining the positions and cutting one maintenance position could spending by $187,000 in the 2011-2012 budget.

The board still believes its best solution to the deficit is passing a referendum authorizing the district to exceed the revenue cap. Voters defeated that referendum in November, and board members said it could return to the ballot in February 2012.

The district is considering cutting a dozen positions, including primary school teachers, lunch staff and aides. The board is expected to begin discussions on the cuts in April, but it could hold another public hearing if additional reductions are announced before then, Miller said.

Other options include joint educator agreements with nearby school districts, something Williams Bay is pursuing. The board voted Monday to share a Spanish teacher with Fontana, splitting the cost of benefits and wages.

"It's things like that we are trying to do with other districts to save additional money," Miller said.

Even with the proposed cuts, the district projects its deficit could grow to as much as $788,000 by the 2015-2016 school year.

Vorlop said during the public hearing that estimates beyond that year are "disastrous."

Last updated: 4:18 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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