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School board cuts its own pay

ZIONSVILLE, Ind. (WISH) – One local school board is hoping to persuade state lawmakers into changing the public school funding formula by taking a pay cut.

“We are about as lean as we can be,” Shari Alexander Richey, Zionsville’s school board president, said.

Zionsville school board members cut their annual pay from a $2,000 annual stipend to the minimum to maintain their tax status: $1.

“We no longer have PE because we’ve had to cut it; we no longer have the International Baccalaureate program because we’ve had to cut it,” Alexander Richey said. “It just makes sense for the times that we’re in.”

Making those cuts has been painful over the years, but administrators say it is a sign of the state’s funding formula for public schools that gives more money to districts with students living near the poverty level. That puts Zionsville schools near the bottom in terms of funding they receive from the state.

“We pay like other communities into the funding formula, and we know from the facts that it is inequitable at this point with regard to the monies that come back to support our students,” corporation Superintendent Scott Robison said.

Zionsville is part of what’s called the Fix-It Coalition, a group of school corporations working to get state lawmakers to make changes to the formula. Parents 24-Hour News 8 talked to say they hope the board’s decision raises some eyebrows at the statehouse.

“There are some cuts in places that I don’t agree should have been cut, but I think that they are really trying to help the kids get a better education,” Pam Domogalik said.

“I think it continues the higher education and they’re willing to take less money and make sure the schools are doing well and I think that’s a good thing,” Danny McVeigh added.

As for the $9,995 left behind?

“It’s symbolic of the times that we’re in and we’re more than happy to give back because we all know we can use it,” Alexander Richey said.

If the board wanted to change its mind, it would have to reinstate the stipend, something they say they have no plans of doing, Robison said.