County caught in a waiting game

Many in Hancock County are concerned about the effects of cuts in funding to the school district as a result of decreases in enrollment.

One such effect which seems to be coming in the next few months is a Reduction In Force, or RIF, of school employees, in particular teachers. That has had some parents in attendance during recent school board meetings to ask the board for other options in order to keep teachers in the classroom and educating their children.

We share those concerns, as well as the concerns of the school board on this issue.

When this issue first came up last fall, we warned there would be difficult decisions ahead, and unfortunately it very well could end up with only one available choice.

With fewer students, there, unfortunately, often is a need for fewer teachers based on current ratios and funding formulas. With 130 fewer students compared to the last school year, some consolidation of classrooms was bound to take place. The school board soon will have to begin the process of deciding where the cuts will be made.

The good news is these RIFs could just be temporary or not needed at all. With new state-mandated Pre-K programs set to begin next year, the school board is waiting to see how many new students will be enrolled.

If there are enough to help balance out the previous losses in student population, it would keep the funding levels up and help to keep all of the current teachers at work where they belong -?in the classroom, educating our youth.

Education is important for the future of our area, and the better taught a student is, the better he or she will be prepared for the future.

For now, it appears we are all in a waiting game to see how it will play out. Let’s just keep our fingers crossed the results will be what’s best for our children.