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Keokuk Reducing Industrial Tech Program


The head of the Keokuk School District says proposed cuts to one program come down to numbers.

Superintendent Tim Hood says the district is facing a roughly $400-thousand shortfall in next year's budget.

"So we put together a budget committee and that budget committee looked at everything. We asked for input from anybody and everybody and we listed everything. It came down to a group of 20-some items we looked at. Unfortunately, there was not enough stuff (from) that committee to cover the $400-thousand."

So the district will make some personnel moves, including reducing the high school industrial technology teacher from full-time to part-time.

Hood says fewer students are taking courses like welding and computer-aided drafting.

“The program is not being eliminated. The program is being reduced to half-time. So basically, we will still offer the coursework, it will just be one section instead of two.”

Hood says the nearby Harmony School District has expressed an interest in hiring the teacher part-time, as well, to fill a need for an industrial technology program.

Hood says about a half-dozen other employees, including several nurses, a librarian and a couple of lunchroom attendants, have received notice that their positions will be reduced or eliminated.

Some of them, including the high school industrial technology teacher, have asked for public hearings with the school board to explain why their jobs should not be changed.

A couple dozen students, parents and economic development leaders attended the most recent school board meeting to protest the proposed industrial technology cuts.  The cuts were not on the agenda so the school board listened but did not comment on the public statements.

Hood says he does not know if the expanded vocational technology programs with SCC are impacting enrollment in Keokuk's programs.

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