Belgrade School Board trustees had another bit of business to handle after a 90-minute meeting concerning teacher Lisa Nesbitt Tuesday.
It was another personnel action, and as they did with an administrative recommendation to end Nesbitt's Belgrade High School career, trustees also went against Principal Kevin McNelis' recommendation to terminate band teacher Vi Huffman.
The board voted 5-2 to offer Huffman a third one-year contract, agreeing to give her another year to build the band program.
According to school records, Huffman's class sizes have been dropping steadily since she was brought on board two years ago.
Speaking to the board Tuesday morning, Huffman defended herself. She reminded trustees that she holds a Master's degree, which makes her more expensive than a fresh-out-of-college hire. But, she said, her experience should count for something.
The band program, she added, is suffering because a popular teacher left the district two years ago for Manhattan Christian School. She said she needs more time to build up the program.
"I'm not up for tenure," she said. "If you can't table this, then please don't vote. Let me have the chance of another year."
Five trustees -- Sherie Jolliff, Troy Timmer, Peter Morgan, Peggy Lucas and Dee Bates -- agreed to do so.
"One more year," Jolliff said.
Board Chair Lance Voegele and trustee Bob Marx sided in favor of the administration's recommendation.
Following the vote, Superintendent Herb Benz told trustees the district is in dire financial straits and at some point, teachers will have to be let go. That's especially true in light of two consecutive years of failed mill levies.
"If you keep losing (mill) levies that leaves personnel" to cut, he said. "Salaries are 87 percent of the budget. There's only so much (other) cost cutting we can do."