Mishawaka superintendent unveils budget recommendations for dist - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Mishawaka superintendent unveils budget recommendations for district

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Tough decisions ahead for Mishawaka schools as the district tries to climb out of debt.

Concerned parents, teachers, and staff packed the gym at Emmons Elementary for a School Board meeting, Tuesday.

Superintendent Terry Barker laid out a number of possibilities for attacking the budget deficit.

Barker divided those suggestions into three categories. The first: eliminated ideas. That includes  consolidating with South Bend or PHM. Barker says there was a lack of interest from other districts.

Barker then talked about "possible and/or phase-in" options. Those include having varsity football games on Saturdays to avoid repairing broken lights. Other possibilities include outsourcing food service and maintenance.  One of the big concerns is the possibility of closing Hums Elementary which Barker hopes won't be necessary.

"It's there only as a possible step that we would take if we had to, but our desire is to keep our elementaries open," says Barker.

Barker says if there's a major problem with the heating system that needs repairing, they may be in an emergency situation.  Barker says there are plans to get that system fixed.

Hums parent Heather Allman says she's relieved the elementary school isn't on the immediate chopping block. "I thought the suggestions were great. Budget cuts are always tough and closing a school is a really huge deal, so I really appreciated that the board took into consideration how great a school Hums really is," says Allman.

The final category Barker discussed is cuts that could be implemented immediately. That includes no home track meets and making Battell Elementary a kindergarten center for all kindergarten students.

All these suggestions could save the district around $1,388,900, not including closing Hums Elementary, which Barker says could save another $350,000.

The School Board will meet February 19th at 6:00pm at Emmons Elementary School to discuss the options.

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