Maple Dale levy drops $300,000

Parents want two first-grade paraprofessionals reinstated

July 20, 2011

Fox Point - The Maple Dale-Indian Hill School Board last week voted to adopt the proposed 2011-12 budget plan, set the 2011-12 tax levy and fielded concerns from a group of parents regarding the rehiring of two paraprofessionals for the first grade.

The budget came in around $7.5 million. The tax levy will total about $6.7 million, which, according to School Board President Mark Goldstein, is down about $300,000 from last year as a result of the recent changes to state aid mandated by the state Legislature.

The School Board also heard concerns from a group of parents, led by Fox Point resident Dana Rubin-Winkelman. The group was concerned because, as of last week, the district has not yet rehired two paraprofessionals to assist in the teaching of first-grade classes.

Winkelman read a statement to the board emphasizing the importance of the paraprofessionals' place in the classroom.

"(With class sizes of twenty-five plus) paraprofessionals help our children achieve more," said Winkelman, "and they can be positioned near students who need more help.

"It is critical that you (the board) hear our concerns," Winkelman said.

Goldstein replied that, because the district will have $300,000 less to work with, the board will need to learn how to work things into the new budget.

"We hear you loud and clear," said District Administrator and Maple Dale Principal Mary Dean, "and our concern is that we offer the best education possible."

Dean also said that, because enrollment numbers are still in flux over the summer, the board does not yet know if class sizes will necessitate the use of paraprofessionals. However, according to Dean, the district didn't hire the two paraprofessionals last year until September, so the possibility is still open.

Board members encouraged the group of parents to raise the issue again at future meetings, so that the board will be prepared to make the necessary decision when the time comes.

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