The 8th grade industrial arts class at Chesterton Middle School might be
eliminated as part of the ongoing budget cuts in the Duneland Schools.
Duneland Superintendent Dirk Baer said no final decisions have been made,
but that schol officials are considering not filling the two vacancies that
will be created upon the retirements of Michael Lahne and Tom Trzeciak. The
two teachers are among the 30 teachers and administrators who so far have
announced that they will retire at the end of this school year.
Duneland is in the process of making up for state funding cuts in such ways
as staff attrition, a week-long furlough in the summer, summer school fee
hikes, reduced hours for classified staff, and an incentive for veteran
teachers to retire early. Duneland is projected to lose $1.6 million in
direct state support this year, in addition to an estimated $3 million
shortfall from the budget approved last year.
Baer has said that Duneland will make the budget cuts without eliminating
any existing programs. He said if the industrial arts classes end at the 8th
grade level, it would not mean the end of the industrial arts program. The
class is offered as an 8th grade elective as part of the larger industrial
arts program. The program would continue in grades 9 through 12, Baer said.
“It’s not like it’s going away,” he said.
Baer also said the number of students who take the 8th grade class is a
small fraction of the student body and that it will be impossible to keep
the status quo with the loss of funding from the state.
“Something’s got to go,” he said.
However, Baer said that while the 8th grade industrial arts class is
“definitely” on the list of possible cuts, no decisions have been finalized
in terms of which vacant teaching positions will not be filled. He said that
review will take more time and will be influenced largely by student
An update on the budget cutting process is on the agenda for Monday’s
Duneland School Board meeting, which begins at 6 p.m. in the Administration
Center, 601 W. Morgan, Chesterton. Also on the agenda are personnel reports,
which might include an additional retirement and a transfer of
administrative positions to other openings.
Also on the agenda is the approval of bids for the Liberty School sewer and
water line project, math textbook adoption, a report on summer school
programs, and presentations by Jackson Elementary and Chesterton High