Mock: School finances could hurt morale

Wellington Schools superintendent Dennis Mock

Dealing with deficits is nothing new for Dennis Mock.

Fixing a $5 million problem at the Genoa school system gave the new Wellington Schools superintendent plenty of experience, he told the Enterprise.

Mock led the Toledo-area district for 21 years before being hired here in late March. He said trimming the work force through retirements helped cure Genoa’s budget over a 10-year period.

But the situation in Wellington has a different time element.

“We did not have to do it in one year, which is difficult when you’re laying off 27 teachers in one school year because that affects morale. It affects the schedule and it affects certification,” Mock said.

With 27 teachers recently pink-slipped here, Mock will have to address teacher certification and who will be teaching which classes in the fall.

That means “pretty well gutting your programs and mainly that’s electives,” he said, dreading the idea of dealing with it all in one school year.

Mock thinks the school district will struggle financially for the next couple of years before getting back on track.

A levy campaign will likely be needed to pump more operating cash into the hurting district, he said.

Mock said Wellington also needs to hire a new high school principal and an intermediate principal.

He plans to roll out a list of priorities for the district in July and will continue evaluating the schools’ strengths and weaknesses.

“It’s going to be a challenge and it’s not going to be solved overnight. It’s a process,” he said.

The first step in fixing the Wellington Schools will be making a list of three to four top priorities that teachers, the board of education, and administrators can agree upon.

Setting a course for the first year won’t be a true strategic plan, Mock said — but at least it will set a direction.

Kelsey Leyva can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @TWE_KelseyLeyva on Twitter.