The St. James school board met for a special meeting on Monday afternoon, moving to go forward with teleconferences until further notice due to the declared health pandemic and state of emergency.

The board will meet via Google Meet for the time being. 

The board also reviewed the proposed reductions presented by the administration. The goal of the administration was to find at least $160,000 in reductions.

The administration noted that there was the potential for $74,600 in savings for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. 

"Obviously this is kind of in flux and we don't know what's happening for the rest of the school year," said superintendent Becky Cselovszki. "These are assumptions based on if we were to not return to school until the end of the year."

In conservative estimates, $30,000 would be saved in subs (paras and teachers), $16,000 in waived pay due to declining hourly work assignments, instead choosing to work from home. Expenses for spring activities— such as sports, concerts, and plays— were also taken into consideration.

The district would also be able to save upwards of $60,000 if they went with an interim superintendent for one year.

"I think this time is a very unprecedented time to be finding a new leader for the district," said Cselovszki. "My recommendation and the administration's recommendation is to consider maybe going with an interim superintendent for one year. You could get a part-time retired person for one year and come up with substantial savings for one year."

Additions for the next school year were a .6 ELL MSHS teacher for $22,500, a .3 LL teacher for Northside at $22,500, and a 1.0 MSHS Liaison for $35,000.

"We have not seen the need for this position as much as we have seen the need for this position right now," said Cselovskzi of the liaison position. "The amount of work that Silvia [Solorzano] does at this position now is unbelievable."

Personnel shifts, particularly at the ELL Coordinator and secretary positions will count for some reductions. 

The administration is aiming to reduce overloads, and savings from moving the Southfork program into Northside will amount to other reductions.

A smaller fifth-grade class will lead to some reductions at the middle school and high school. Two positions are scheduled to be reducted.

The total additions and reductions for the 2020-2021 year comes out to $168,500.

The subtotal of potential savings and reductions is $243,100. There is potential for $100,000 more in savings. 

The board will vote on the reductions during the April regular meeting.