Oconomowoc schools considering sweeping academic changes

CREATED Apr. 25, 2012 - UPDATED: Apr. 25, 2012

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  • Cody Holyoke reports Video by wtmj.com

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OCONOMOWOC- Sweeping changes at the Oconomowoc School District could result in layoffs for some employees -- but incentives for others.

That school system, like in many other places around the state, is anticipating very little extra money coming in.  As a result, administrators are eliminating more than a dozen positions at the high school -- but the people who stay get extra money.

Oconomowoc Superintendent Pat Neudecker saw the writing on the wall.  Faced with reduced funding, school leaders decided to restructure staffing at the high school.

"I think this is comparable to what a lot of businesses and industries are doing," said Neudecker.

The school now employs 60 teachers.  Under the new plan, 15 positions will be cut.  But the remaining 45 employees will receive a yearly stipend totaling $14,000.

Neudecker told TODAY'S TMJ4 they'll each be required to teach an extra class during the school day.  "We have a higher expectation.  They will be doing more during the school day," said Neudecker.  "For that, we'll be more than willing to compensate."

Even after the payout, the district would save more than $500,000; they'd also cut eight or nine jobs.

Students organized their efforts, taking to Facebook to show support. Many are concerned about the year ahead.

Parents acknowledge the financial woes. Their concerns lie with the quality of education.  "I feel like teachers already have so much on their plate. It's going to be really hard for them," said parent Allison Para.  Mother Stephanie Kobussen told TODAY'S TMJ4, "I feel like it'll make the teachers less accessible and i also feel horrible for the families being affected by the layoffs."

The superintendent said the quality of education will not be affected by the changes.

Teachers told TODAY'S TMJ4 they were told during the middle of the school day they would not be coming back next year.  Some of those men and women are being transferred to other schools in the district.