The Holland School Board has approved a $17.9 million spending plan for 2013-14 that stays under the tax cap, but will mean cuts to programs and personnel.
Among the cut are teachers in physical education, high school English and technology and at the elementary school.
All the cuts will be covered by retirements or resignations, except the physical education teacher. As low man on the seniority list, that means Athletic Director Matthew Adams, who functions as part-time physical education teacher and part-time athletic director, will lose his job.
“I know he’s popular. It’s very sad; it’s not a quick decision,” Interim Superintendent Sylvia Root said. “When you make these decisions, you try not to know who the person is; it’s too hard. You know you’re taking someone’s livelihood away. If we kept everyone we liked, we’d lay off very few employees, but that wouldn’t be fair to the taxpayers or the kids.”
During budget work sessions, she advised the School Board to reduce the physical education staff of six, based on a declining student population that now hovers around 950.
Board President Steve Marom said the board is still seeking a “creative” solution for the athletic director.
Adams, who has been instrumental in spearheading a potential merger between the Holland and East Aurora football teams, said, “I’ve heard rumors of them trying to figure something out. It’s frustrating and upsetting. I love this job, this community and the school. I don’t know if it’s over yet.”
More than 100 people showed up at Tuesday’s board meeting, many in support of the sports being cut in next year’s budget, including girls varsity swimming, girls junior varsity field hockey and girls volleyball.
Many also attended in response to a rumor that the district was closing its pool, which, Root said, is false.
Last year, Holland sent voters a budget that called for a 2 percent tax hike, which was higher than the calculated tax cap of less than 1 percent. It passed. This year, on a budget that is about $1 million higher, Root said the proposed tax levy increase of 4.5 percent is the same as the tax cap and therefore will not require a supermajority approval by 60 percent of voters.