Windham – The state budget is in and said what everyone hoped it wouldn’t say — big revenue losses for the Windham School District. The board of education (BOE) was hoping it would not come down to loss of jobs but after running on bare bones the last few years a Reduction in Force (RIF) was their only alternative if the district is to survive. At the March BOE meeting the district announced that it would eliminate 26 positions and they would determine the specific staff members after analyzing everyone’s credentials. The other shoe so to speak fell as the BOE felt it had no alternative but to RIF 23 employees and adjust their curriculum. Mr. Gregg Isler superintendent said it was a difficult but necessary process that needed to be done so the district can survive. The list of staff cuts included art, music and band instructors; however they will be offering those electives in some capacity next year. So those who are wondering about the new band uniforms, yes they will be worn and used in the 2011 -2012 school year. Some of the staff cuts involve elective courses that only had a few students interested in taking them. The courses they eliminated will be replaced by more interesting classes that will benefit the students and still fulfill college requirements. Prior to the RIFs the district had students fill out a survey on what electives they would like to see offered and the number one desire was to have a Science of Sports. This class would help students mathematically figure out the entire hows and whys of the sports facilities, equipment, and etc. using mathematical computations. The district anticipates having the full elective course list in place in the next week or so. Questions were asked about the future of the district. Isler said he anticipates that they will have to continue to adjust their staff and budget over the years but doesn’t anticipate that it will be as severe as this year. The district plans to announce they will have a public forum in the near future to answer any questions the public may have on these issues. I took to the streets last week to see what the public had to say about the cuts in the district. The over all feeling was Ohio needs to change the way it funds districts and they need to do it soon. Many thought it was a sad day for public education in the community, and felt badly about the losses the district faced, while hoping there would be some changes in the funding that would allow the district to bring some of the staff back for the next school year. While there were those who felt bad, others were more indifferent about the scenario and pretty much were resolved to the attitude of it is what it is. Many of the folks who weighed in on the issue were quick to put the blame on student losses to open enrollment and on the housing units demolished in the projects. So I checked with the district and found they have 101 students opened enrolled in other district while taking in only 46 from other districts. So there are some losses here that effect the over all budget. I also checked on the housing situation and yes they have torn down some of the project housing but most of the ones they took down were unoccupied and in poor condition. The tenants who occupied some of the units that were demolished were relocated to other unoccupied units in other buildings. So this has had little if no effect on the situation.In other BOE news, the board approved to house their own multi-handicap unit in the elementary school rather than bus them to other schools. Isler stated, “That they feel confident that they can best serve those students needing this service, in their own district.” They also approved to have an ED behavioral unit at the Jr. / Sr. high school. Lastly the Board announced that they would make up their calamity days at the end of the school year. Seniors will be required to return to class for two days after commencements due to state requirements. The state allows seniors to be dismissed from three days of classes, however by adding the calamity days at the end of the year forces the district to either change graduation day or have the seniors return after commencements. The board chose to have the seniors return. The BOE meets on the fourth Thursday of each month at 7 p.m.