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Keokuk Keeps Science Teacher

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The Keokuk School Board approved more than $600,000 in cuts to next year’s budget during last night’s meeting.  There was one exception, though, which earned the board plenty of applause.

The board met for about 2 ½ hours last night, in front of roughly 30 students, parents, and teachers at the former Torrence Elementary.

About a half-dozen of them spoke during the meeting, including three current students, with most calling for the board to not eliminate a half-time high school science position.

The administration defended the cut by saying no courses would be cut, but rather there would be fewer overall science sections.

The public statements apparently helped as the board approved the administration’s budget reduction plan, except for the science position.

Board member Alka Khanolkar has been pushing to keep the high school math and science positions since the budget reduction plan was unveiled.

She says this is an investment in the future of Keokuk’s students.

There were also some comments about the part-time math position, but not as many because the teacher holding that position is set to retire.

Some of the approved cuts include three part-time elementary school teachers (music, PE, & art),  a full-time middle school language arts teacher (retirement) and several other part-time high school teachers.

The district is also shifting positions around due to the closing of Wells-Carey Elementary and losing funds designated for Title I programs and for elementary school guidance counselors.

The Keokuk School Board must still find about $65,000 in cuts to balance next year’s budget.  Several members recommended using cash reserves if more savings cannot be identified.

Jason Parrott is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.