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School districts for Stonewall, Vanoss and Konawa are among the many Oklahoma schools looking at ways to brace for upcoming budget shortfalls.

Kevin Flowers, superintendent of Stonewall Public Schools, said the school will not be hiring substitutes for the next year.

“We will accommodate by asking teachers to cover during their planning period,” Flowers said.

Janet Blocker, superintendent of Vanoss Public Schools and Don Sjoberg, superintendent of Konawa Public Schools, said their districts have reduced the hiring of substitutes but are still utilizing them when necessary.

Flowers, Blocker and Sjoberg said their districts will look at not filling vacated positions.

“We are going to absorb two retirements this year,” Flowers said.  “In addition, we are looking at a reduction in force in some support personnel positions.”

Konawa Public Schools will also be looking at a reduction in force.  A hearing is set on May 10 for the Konawa school board to determine whether or not to cut the positions of teachers Lorie Patterson and Justin Sharp, as well as Chuck Terry, the school’s head football coach.

Michelle Jesse, mother of a Konawa student, said she is worried about cuts in sports programs.

“I know, recently, my husband and I were both a little concerned,” she said.  “There have been several budget cuts in the sports programs. 

When we went to school there several years back, Konawa was kind of the place to be and we always had nice uniforms.  I know we had to purchase uniforms for our children this year.”

Blocker said Vanoss would not be losing or reducing programs but Flowers and Sjoberg said their programming would be affected.  Sjoberg said specific program cuts or reductions were not certain yet but would be finalized in May.

“Every program on campus is affected,” Flowers said.  “We are not cutting any programs at this point but all programs will have a drop in services, supplies, field trips, etc.”

All three administrators said their districts’ class sizes would increase.

Primary concerns of administrators continue to be upcoming school budgets.

“The biggest concern is the potential state budget cuts for the upcoming school years,” Blocker said.

“I am very concerned about the cuts next year but even more troubled by the prospect of additional devastating cuts for 2012,” Flowers said.

(Ed. Note: The picture of Dr. Don Sjoberg was provided by the Seminole Producer.)

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