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Virus forces Crestview to tighten its belt

Morning Journal/Deanne Johnson Work is continuing on the new turf field at Crestview’s stadium.

NEW WATERFORD — The financial impact of the coronavirus forced Crestview to reduce staff during last week’s school board meeting, while the board continued the planning process for the new building.

In a prepared statement read by Superintendent Matthew Manley, he said the need to reduce staff was from the downturn in the economy and the need to increase safety measures to protect students and staff from COVID-19.

“With the sound management of our treasurer, board and staff, we were able to minimize the reductions at this time” Manley said. “However, if you are the one who is laid off, that is meaningless. Our thoughts are with these staff members. We hope that the economy will recover quickly so that we may bring back all staff. It is also our hope that a vaccine is available soon to stop COVID-19. In the meantime, we will continue to tighten our belts, protect our students and staff, and maintain and grow services for our children.”

The board voted to reduce one classified secretarial position and a partial reduction of a teaching position from full time to part time — Stefanie Buhecker, a district secretary who has worked in multiple capacities, and Derek Ciapala, a high school history teacher.

Additionally, Manley said to further reduce costs the school will split the cost of a school psychiatrist position with Lisbon schools, which will lead to a psychiatrist at the building only two and a half days per week. The board approved the resignation of Leslie Biastro, its school psychologist.

Crestview reported its expected to lose 21 percent of its state revenue the final three months of the fiscal year that ended June 30 and has been told to anticipate a cut of 3 to 4 percent for the next school year.

The board also voted to transfer Jamie Perna from high school art teacher to high school/middle school art teacher at five hours per day for the school year and employed Emily Goerig as a high school/middle school art teacher.

While the school district currently has budget concerns, the bond issue passed for the new construction cannot be used for any other use.

Prior to the meeting, the board and public heard a presentation regarding the construction project from the architectural partners designing the project, Holabird & Root and BHMS. In light of COVID-19, Eric Risinger assured those present that filtered, fresh air flow, spacing between the classrooms and available sunlight are part of making certain the new building provides a safe, healthy learning environment.

Additionally, the pods will have age specific learning spaces between the classrooms, allowing students to interact and work collaboratively. An elementary cafeteria will have a new multi-purpose floor, allowing it to double as a gymnasium area for the younger students. The pods will be built with the current needs of the district in mind, but with the space to expand by four classrooms in each pod should the school’s needs change in the future.

djohnson@mojonews.com

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