SE chief presents cost-saving ideas

ATTICA – Seneca East Board of Education met for a work session Saturday morning to discuss cost-cutting efforts and next year’s levy renewal.

Superintendent Laura Kagy shared options the district has been considering to increase efficiency, including changes to food services and school technology.

“I’m always looking for ways to save,” Kagy said.

Kagy has met with food services to discuss trimming half an hour each day from one of two lunch-time cashier positions, serving breakfast on disposable items rather than trays and using the cafeteria to cater in-school functions such as Kagy’s planned lunches with high school seniors.

“The cafeteria is never going to be in the black,” board president Jamie Beamer said, adding that these adjustments may help.

Kagy also is looking into replacing some of the schools’ computers. “We would like to add Chromebooks for grades 6-12,” she said.

With the purchase of new technology for older students, Kagy would like to move some of the existing laptop carts into elementary classrooms. In line with state standards, she is looking into starting typing classes in the third grade.

The laptops cost $330 each, and are projected to save money by eliminating the need for some textbooks and materials for written assignments, such as paper and toner. While there are funds set aside for technology purposes, the board also hopes to cover some of the cost with grants.

The district also is to look into renegotiating its cell tower lease with AT&T, which has been in place since 1994 and pays out about $500 per month.

The board also discussed the levy that will be up for renewal in 2015. The board plans to request a 5-year renewal on the current levy, though a 10-year replacement levy was debated.

“As a board member, I’d like to see 10 years, but to the community, five is less scary than 10,” Beamer said.

Other topics included posting teaching positions to create an applicant pool to replace teachers expected to retire in the coming year, hiring a supervisor for the bus program, creating new nurse and education consultant positions instead of contracting them out, preparations for testing, an update on the new state-required teacher evaluations, and new door locks to deter students from propping open outside doors during after school activities.