Batman resigns from McLouth Elementary
by Dennis Sharkey
McLouth USD 342 will start next school year without Elementary Principal Butch Batman.
Superintendent Jean Rush said last week that the board accepted the resignation of Batman during their regular board meeting on Feb. 14.
Rush said Batman did not give a reason in his letter for leaving but she also said he didn’t indicate that he was leaving for another position. Batman could not be reached for comment.
Batman is the second administrator in less than a year to resign from the district. Last spring Assistant Principal and Athletic Director Tom Pierce retired. Pierce is now teaching math at Oskaloosa Middle School.
The board also accepted the resignation of Technology Director Phillip Thomas. Rush said Thomas indicated that he and his family were returning to their home state of Louisiana.
The question now is whether or not to replace Batman or Thomas’ positions or realign.
Last year the board did not replace Pierce’s position and hired another staff member as a part-time athletic director.
Rush said she told board members last week that they have options with administration if they need to cut more expenses from next year’s budget.
“When you have a vacancy that is a real good time to re-assess,” Rush said. “It does give the board some options.”
Rush said she knows of a school district that had a lead-teacher and a shared administration configuration. She said there are also other configurations that can be looked at.
A year ago the district was looking at cutting teachers and ultimately trimmed the district’s staff by three positions. She said her recommendation to the board was to not cut any further to teachers.
“This district is almost as lean as it can get,” Rush said. “I just don’t see how it will really be possible without having significant consequences on students and achievements.”
She said the board gave her no directives to explore cutting staff. Although next year’s budget will be the responsibility of incoming Superintendent Steve Spichal, by law teachers need to be notified by May if their contracts are not going to be renewed.
The board will not have to make any drastic cuts to this year’s budget if Gov. Sam Brownback’s proposal is approved by the legislature to cut base state aid by $75 per pupil this fiscal year. Rush said the board built in a $70,000 reduction in this year’s budget.
“For the current year everything will be fine because it was all planned for,”
If the governor’s plan is approved the district will lose about $63,000 in base state aid this year.
In other actions:
• The board approved adding two school days to the calendar. Seniors at this time are projected to be about 5.5 hours short of state requirements. Students were in school on Monday instead of having the day off as scheduled. Students will also attend school on Good Friday April 22. Students have missed a total of eight days this school year because of weather.
• The board also adopted a no smoking policy for school property effective immediately. Before smoking was not allowed in buildings only.
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