Cost-cutting suggestions were unveiled at Monday’s Altamont Unit 10 Board of Education meeting.

    The board didn’t make any decisions on the proposals of an ad hoc committee that has been studying ways to trim the district’s budget.

    Superintendent Jeff Fritchtnitch said the committee’s suggestions include imposing activity fees on junior high and high school students involved in most extra-curricular activities, including athletics. Junior high fees would be $15 per activity, with a $45 maximum per student and $75 maximum per family. High school fees would be $25 per activity, $75 maximum per student and $125 maximum per family, Fritchtnitch said.

    The superintendent said the fees would raise about $5,600 for the district next year, if implemented. An equal amount, he said, would be saved by eliminating funding for subject area coordinators, high school yearbook and drama, teacher collaboration team and the summer band program.

    Other suggestions include converting the junior high into a middle school format with seven class periods per day. Fritchtnitch said that would enable the district to eliminate two teaching positions.

    Board president Jeff Higgs said some suggestions would have to be negotiated with the Altamont Education Association teachers union before they are finalized.

    Committee members included Nanci Wood-Huels, teachers Mike Delaney, Melanie Thornton and Toni Niebrugge, community member Dave Corder, board members Higgs, Gary Goldstein and Tammie Sims, former board member Sheila Kuhns and high school student body president Greg Watson.

    Goldstein said the committee should continue to meet periodically.

    “I don’t think the conversation should end,” he said.

    Fritchtnitch said he was pleased with the committee’s work.

    “They did a great job,” he said.

    The board was expected to consider staff  cuts and a number of other items after a lengthy executive session that bisected the meeting. That information was unavailable by presstime Monday night, however.

    Also Monday, junior high science teacher Ashley Landrus demonstrated how smart boards are being used in Unit 10 classrooms. Smart boards are blackboard-sized computer monitors.

    Landrus said students can erase a blank area of the boards to show answers and incorporate music into ordinary academic subjects.

    Grade school principal Jerry Tkachuk said even the less technology-minded realize the value of smart boards.

    “The teachers who don’t get it are seeking out those who do,” Tkachuk said.

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