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Cuts could mean school wouldn't meet accreditation standardsPosted on May 14

Cuts could mean school wouldn't meet accreditation standardsPosted on May 14


BILLINGS - The Billings school superintendent is recommending cuts that would save the district nearly $2 million, but also run afoul of the state's minimum standards for accreditation.

Interim Superintendent Jack Copps and his staff drew up the recommendations at the request of the school board, which faces a budget shortfall after voters rejected school levy requests totaling $3.8 million.

"We did everything we could to try to eliminate the impact to students, but unfortunately there is some impact here," Copps said.

The school board will discuss the list at its regular meeting Monday night.

Trustee K. Dale Getz said he would not comment on the proposal until he heard Copps' presentation on Monday.

The options suggested by the superintendent's office include closing Crossroads Alternative High School, saving $687,000, of which $380,000 would be redirected to the three high schools to accommodate Crossroads' 95 students.

Copps' plan suggests eliminating the dean of students positions at two of the three high schools, cutting three middle school teachers, the district's full-time curriculum director and an elementary school counselor. He would also put off hiring an elementary school librarian.

Copps is also suggesting putting off buying $182,000 in high school textbooks and $50,000 in elementary textbooks, redirecting $122,600 meant for state-mandated American Indian education in middle schools and raising the student activity fees from $20 to $60 for high school sports programs.

The loss of the librarian, school counselor and curriculum director would mean the district wouldn't meet the state's minimum accreditation standards.

"We can't correct them at this time," Copps said. "The most serious consequence is that the school district can lose all of its state funding, but that has never happened in Montana."

Another consequence is that in kindergarten through second grade there would be 25 to 35 classes with more than 20 pupils, another violation of state standards

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