South Bend aide jobs safe for now

South Bend explorer and kindergarten aides still have their jobs -- for now.

During the corporation's school board meeting Monday night, Superintendent Carole Schmdit asked that the three items related to eliminating explorer and some kindergarten aides be removed from the agenda.

"We're feeling really relieved for the time," said SBCSC Kindergarten teacher Cindy Korkhouse. "Because all of us who work with children day in and day out know it's the aides that make the difference."

The proposals called for the elimination of explorer aides and no more than 50 percent of the kindergarten aides.

The decision to remove them from the agenda is a temporary relief for aides as the board looks at what areas to cut to make up the $10.5 million shortfall it faces over the next two years.

"We felt we could go ahead and give that a little more time, give the planning process a little bit more time," Schmidt said.

But some of the reductions didn't have to wait.

The board voted to allow Schmidt to make contract reductions for administrators by no more than 10 days, which could save the corporation up to $140,000 if implemented.

But one member voted against that proposal.

"It's not in the interest of the board to be targeting one particular group or sending the message that we don't value them," said Jay Caponigro. "And this particular group we hung out to dry today I didn't feel was right."

But teachers say the board did make the right decision by cutting furthest from the classroom.

It doesn't mean aide jobs are off the table, so for now, they plan to enjoy what could be just a little more time with their students.

"I will hug them and I know the little one who says I'm her school mommy will be attached to my hip as happy as can be," said kindergarten aide Nikki McCune.

SBCSC will save some money through attrition this year. Schmidt says several teachers and administrators in the central office building won't be replaced when they retire at the end of the year.

The board begins its strategic planning sessions this week and will decide what cuts align best with the corporation's philosophy.


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