Lakota rolls out first phase of budget cuts

LIBERTY TOWNSHIP, OH (FOX19) - Lakota first-year Superintendent Dr. Karen Mantia along with other head district administrators presented the first phase of proposed budget cuts for the 2012- 2013 school year.

The phase includes cuts to the district's preschool program. The new preschool plan turns the district's preschool services over to the Butler County Educational Services Center.

That means 42 of the 53 current Lakota preschool staff members will be laid off. The 11 remaining staff members will be added to a 24-member staff provided by Butler County E.S.C. The move will save the district $1.2 million.

Currently there are 15 preschool classrooms in Lakota, under the proposed cuts that number would decrease to 12 and some classrooms would be led by teachers with associates degrees.

"My main concern is that I came to Lakota because these teachers are certified teachers, they have their bachelors in education and have their master degrees," said Holly Emch, preschool parent.  "I am a former teacher and that is what I want for my child and I want to send them to a school that has highly qualified teachers."

"We will meet the needs of all of our students," said Brenda Paget, Executive Director of Special Services. "A team comes together, they make the determination of what that student needs and the goals that student needs to have and how we are going to go about doing that. We are going to continue that process."

Officials say the district needs to make $9 million in cuts to eliminate deficit spending. Superintendent Mantia says she wants to have all the budget cut phases voted on by the end of April.

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