With an eye on preserving instrumental and vocal music programs that are unique within , the district implemented changes to some of its programs to save money at its regular meeting Tuesday.
The Northville School Board voted to eliminate the fifth hour music program at Northville High School in favor of offering jazz ensemble as a course during the regular school day, and offering the Back Beat and Treble Makers vocal music ensembles as extra-curricular activities.
The decision was made based on financial considerations, and enrollment levels in the two vocal groups, which are insufficient to maintain as courses, said Robert Behnke, the assistant superintendent of Instructional Services.
To take part in the Back Beat and Treble Makers programs, students will now have to pay a $350 fee, which is commiserate with athletic participation fees, Behnke said.
“We chose the fixed-fee because the programs are designed for eight for 10 students, and that doesn’t change,” Behnke said.
Because jazz ensemble has more participants – from 12 to 18 students – the district can create a course in a way that is cost-effective.
The board also made several other decisions, including hiring its recently-retired superintendent Leonard Rezmierski as a consultant for Act 18 issues, for an amount not to exceed $16,620.
Act 18 funds – or monies for special education center programs that address learning for students with specific challenges, are provided through a millage approved by voters several years ago.
But, costs for the programs, which are administered by the Wayne County Regional Education Association (RESA) are outpacing revenue, creating a situation where the school district could have to pay RESA for taking part in the center program system.
The bill back could be as much as $500,000 for the district.
Trustee Ken Roth said Rezmierski has dealt with this fact for several years, and may be able to help the district minimize the amount of the bill back.
“If this comes to pass, our general fund could take a major hit, and we want the public to understand that,” he said.
Additionally, the district voted to lay off an additional special education teacher that was contingent on a waiver that was not approved, and renewed its contract with administrators and coaches under a retire-rehire program, which saves the district the cost of benefits, until June 2014.
All actions undertaken by the board were approved unanimously, with the exception of Treasurer Joseph T. Hige, who was absent from the meeting.