The Oshkosh school board unanimously voted to remove items affecting administrator jobs and salaries from a prioritized list of budget cuts.
The board on Wednesday approved a revised list of budget cuts that no longer eliminates one principal, reduces hours for middle school deans or gives smaller raises to administrators. Instead, the board will preserve those jobs and raises while dipping further into reserve funds to close a budget hole estimated to run as deep as $3.5 million.
The board previously agreed to use $1 million from reserves to reduce the deficit, a one-year fix that board members and administrators said would act as a bridge to a referendum to raise taxes next year. The revised plan uses $1.3 million in reserve funds to balance the budget.
Board members said they hadn’t fully considered how cutting administrators would impact student safety and employee turnover before voting on March 27.
The cuts to administration weren’t part of the original plan created by an advisory committee of community members and school employees. But board members had followed a recommendation by Karl Loewenstein to replace measures raising class sizes, laying off school counselors and dropping sixth grade exploratory classes with the cuts to administration.
Loewenstein said on Wednesday, “I forgot about the personnel side of the suggestions I made. I do think maintaining class sizes is more important than the administrator positions on the list, but at the same time I recognize those are important roles and positions in our district.”