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Ball-Chatham Board Approves First Balanced Budget in Years
The Ball-Chatham school district has faced an uphill financial battle for the past five years.
On Monday, the school board approved a balanced budget for next school year.
"We knew we had a lot of work to do in terms of reducing and tightening our belt and reducing our expenditures," superintendent Carrie Hruby said.
Hruby's team took a hard look at what they could do to fix the district's problems. One of the answers meant doing away with more than 30 positions in the district, including janitors, aide positions, and teachers.
This didn't sit well for many parents, including Doug Simmons.
"Kids get to know these teachers," Simmons said. "They are comfortable with them. When you go to lose them, it's like losing part of your family."
The school board also had an issue with letting go of educators. The group was able to establish the budget and bring back most of the employees who were laid off.
Hruby said some took incentives to retire.
"We had two P.E. teachers who, one was able to secure a position in another district and one is an in-house supervisor for us this year," Hruby said.
Along with a balanced budget, parents were most pleased with well-known teachers coming back to the district.
"The school district is expanding as we speak," Simmons said. "The schools are getting bigger and bigger. To have teachers that are familiar with our school district back in that classroom, absolutely fantastic."
The district expects to spend almost $40 million in operating expenses, and bring in more than $40 million in revenue.
The budget was unanimously approved by the board.
They also expanded employment by adding four coach positions for the high school weight room.
Aside from budget talks, Ball-Chatham board members also discussed expansion plans for Glenwood High School. One of those options included adding 14 classrooms that could house up to 350 students. They're still looking into other options for the addition.