BELLE RIVE — Pupils from the Belle Rive Attendance Center will be attending Opdyke Grade School next school year, following action by the OBR District 5 Board of Education.
“It was a very difficult decision. The Board didn’t take it lightly. It was very emotional,” said Debbie Blakey, who will become the superintendent/principal at the newly-organized Opdyke-Belle Rive district.
“The Board did gather information about the problems the state is having and meeting their funding obligations to schools. We were given information that for the 2013-2014 school year. It’s projected the state will provide Belle Rive with $76,000 less out of its Education Fund and approximately $60,000 was left out of the Transportation Fund. That’s $136,000 that had to be accounted for. We’ve been told we’re going to lose $136,000 total,” Blakey continued. “Based on the financial impact to the district, the Board made a decision that would provide us the ability to give the students the best possible education.”
To make up a portion of the loss in state funding, interim Opdkye co-superintendents John Ashby and Rod Stover have told school officials they will re-retire. Both men had served as superintendents in other school districts before accepting the interim assignments.
“We will not need a principal in both buildings. That’s a significant savings of around $145,000. Based on that, we have hit our target of the $136,000 lost,” Blakey said.
In other personnel moves, one full time teacher was released — resulting in 11 teachers at Opdyke. Four teacher aides (three full-time and one part-time) were released. All four aides were in their first year and still in their probationary period, according to Blakey. The district also released two cook helpers, and one custodian position was included in a reduction in force. Blakey said it hasn’t been determined yet, but that position may be reinstated based on the school’s needs.