Mars Area School District cuts 7 curriculum leader positions

January 13, 2021 Cranberry Local News

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Mars Area School Board approved the elimination of seven curriculum leader positions during its meeting Jan. 5.

But the move isn't to eliminate curriculum, according to Superintendent Mark Gross. It's to bring the district more in line with the standing teachers' contract.

“The current teachers' contract calls for 10 curriculum leaders,” Gross said. “Somehow it rose to the level of 17.”

Noting that the position eliminations aren't reflections of the work teachers have done for them, Gross said cutting them back to 10 is also fiscally responsible.

The district has been discussing ways to handle an unexpected $1.3 million shortfall linked to 2020-21 cyber charter school enrollment.

The discussion about planning for the 2021-22 budget has included talks of staff changes, service contracts and other financial trimming.

Teachers who hold a curriculum leader position earn a $1,666 stipend for the year.

Gross said the cuts will only affect teachers who have been holding these positions since last semester by half of the year.

“They will get half of their year paid to them,” Gross said.

Teachers will receive $833 this year.

Megan Lenz, a board member, said any change to staffing positions is an important matter and isn't taken lightly. “(We must) find a compromise everywhere we can with this budget,” Lenz said.

Gross said the directors help throughout the curriculum cycle. Having 10 positions still available will help moving into the new year.

The eliminated curriculum positions are for high school world language; elementary math; high school business, computers and information systems; music; art; physical education; and library media.

The position dissolutions are effective Jan. 18.

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Samantha Beal

Samantha Beal