Staff, parents and students of Eastern Greene School District attended the board of school trustees meeting Monday night to address concerns of hourly cuts of non-certified staff members.
Superintendent Ty Mungle explained due to changes in insurance provisions in the Affordable Healthcare Act, as of April 29 all members of staff that are not currently covered by the school's insurance will be cut back to 28 hours per week.
Mungle noted the changes had to be made immediately in order to be in compliance with the May 1 deadline.
School board president Mike Adams noted these changes would not be indefinite.
"These are initially what we have to do to get through the school year. I think we are going to be adjusting this for at least the next two to three years out," Adams stressed.
Elementary librarian Susan Dare was among the room full of people to address the board with concerns of how cutting her hours would take away from the students.
Dare noted when she took the position as librarian she declined the health insurance coverage due to being covered under her husband's plan. Now, since she is not covered under the plan she will be working no more than 28 hours per week.
Dare explained some of her duties as the school librarian, which includes helping at least 500 students a week to pick out a book they would be interested in and suits their reading level. Among other duties she has normal classroom time, keeps up the Alexandria card catalog and facilitates Accelerated Reading.
She also coordinates two major fundraisers a year, which brings in about $4,000 a year to purchase new books for the students.
"I think if you really look at it, this can't be accomplished in less than eight hours a day," Dare stressed.
Jill Piedmont, mother of an elementary school student and two middle school students, stressed the importance of retaining Dare as a full-time staff member at Eastern Greene Elementary.
Piedmont's first grade student, Charlotte, asked the school board not to make cuts that would take away from her love of reading.
Middle schooler Tucker Piedmont said throughout his school career he had accrued more than 2,500 AR points, and this was possible in part through having a full-time staff person in the library.
"My family, we read at home. But, I'm worried about those that don't get that luxury at home," Piedmont stressed to the board. "Don't make this a one-size fits all situation."
Matt Roberts, president of the Eastern Greene Classroom Teacher's Association, stressed to the board these series of changes are detrimental to the teachers' dedication to the school system.
In other business, the school board voted to retain staff members Donna McNutt, Cari Helms, Anita Hill, Judy Childers and Nancy Hacker as full-time employees because they are currently covered under the health insurance program.
The board also voted to:
* Approve a leave of absence for fifth grade teacher Matt Roberts for the 2013-14 school year.
* Approve the resignation of Irene Burch as Middle School Student Council Advisor.
* Approve the hire of Zachary Burton as a volunteer high school football coach for the 2013 season.
* Approve the hire of Kim Austin as an Elementary Teaching Assistant for the remainder of the school year.
* Approve the donation of $370 to the Middle School Extracurricular Athletic Fund.
* Approve the donation of $2,500 to the High School ECA Fund to offset the cost of a new baseball pitching machine.
* Approve the donation of $1,000 to offset expenses for the Middle School Washington, D.C. field trip.
* Approve the choir/strings field trip to Kings Island on Saturday, May 18.
* Approve the participation of the volleyball team in a camp at Ball State University on July 10 to 12.
* Approve the field trip of the Biology class to the Louisville Body Worlds exhibit April 15.
* Approve the JAG students to stay overnight in Indianapolis for their JAG State Competition on April 18-19.
* Approve the adoption of the Elementary Reading textbooks.
* Approve the contracts through OTIS for maintenance and inspection of the middle school chair lift and high school elevator.