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Mishawaka School Board announces budget cuts

MISHAWAKA, Ind. -- In a special meeting Tuesday night, the Mishawaka School Board announced several major cuts to its budget, some starting immediately.

Worried employees and parents of Mishawaka students voiced their concerns about everything from staff reductions to school closings, but in the end, it was up to the board to decide how the school system will move forward.

Tuesday night’s meeting started with people like Leanne, who teaches at John Young Middle School.

She pleaded for the Mishawaka school board to keep school counselors- noting the stresses of elementary and school students and offering statistics to back it up.

“In the United States in 2002 almost 4,300 young people ages 10 to 24 died by suicide. Can we afford to lose?” she said.

Next the board heard from loyal Mishawaka school employees, fearing they will soon be out of a job if the board decides to outsource.

“Please we need our jobs as cafeterians[sic]. Don’t contract it out please.”

And finally, parents took to the stand. One father was concerned about the possibility of Hums elementary getting closed down.

“In the event that a school is closed in a community, where will those children go? It’s a growing concern of mine that sadly on many times has not been answer,” he said.

But in the end the board decided for now, to keep Hums open.

A few cuts that will go into effect immediately are the suspension of freshman athletic teams, with a hope to save $18,000, implementation of a computer based foreign language course, which is expected to save $40,000 and suspension of the elementary orchestra program.

Cuts that are still under consideration include eliminating low participation sports, outsourcing food, custodial, maintenance, and transportation as well as implementing mandatory furlough days for teachers.

“Not only do we want to reduce costs but we also want to try and reduce class sizes. We’ve had splits in the School City of Mishawaka. And we want to try and do it with no new hires,” Mishawaka schools superintendent Barker said.

The next meeting will be February 19th at 6 p.m. At that time the board plans to continue discussing several money saving ideas.

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