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      Perkins school district approves cuts leaving 18 teachers out of work

      S evere budget cuts in the Perkins school district will leave teachers out of jobs, and students possibly paying more for after school activities.

      I t became a reality in Wednesday nights school board meeting, "it's gut wrenching, I mean you're talking about peoples careers, their lives, their families," explains Jim Gunner, superintendent of the Perkins Local School District.

      A gut wrenching decision Superintendent Gunner wishes he didn't have to make. The school board approved reductions that will total $12 million in saving over four years.

      F or the crowd at the meeting , the effected teachers aren't a dollar sign, "we've had a lot of innovative, creative things come out of this district and i would hate to see that our community lose that," says Alice James, president of the Perkins Education Association.

      U nder the plan , the community could lose a lot more. In addition to those 18 teachers, school leaders say 15 non teaching employees such as secretaries and administration staff will lose their jobs, and changes to busing could axe 6 to 8 drivers.

      B ut , that's not all. School activity fees for sports and clubs go could up by 25 to 65 dollars, and field trips would be history.

      " I t's not a local problem, it's a statewide problem, and it's about time our legislators stand up and fix the problem," says Gunner.

      T he solution , 2 levies the school board approved to put on the May ballot. One is a 5 year renewal 2 mill permanent improvement levy. The other is a 10 year 4.98 mill emergency operating levy.

      " I t's going to be up to our community to stand behind our school , " says James.

      I f there's any light in what otherwise is a dark time for the district , it would be those levies. If passed by voters, one and maybe two teaching positions could be saved, and hikes in activity fees wouldn't happen.