Over the past several months, and other administrators of have been meeting with teachers and staff, getting their ideas on how to save money and reduce spending for the next school year.
Twinsburg Patch will sit down with Powers to discuss the list of reduction options that district staff came up with, saving an estimated $6 million. Starting Tuesday, Nov. 29, we will begin a series of stories looking into the potential cuts and what they could mean for the district, leading up to a community forum on Tuesday, Dec. 6 at 7 p.m.
“The end goal here is to say we will have a balanced budget by the fiscal year 2016,” Powers said at the Nov. 16 Board of Education meeting.
According to the district’s five-year financial forecast, it will start deficit spending by $2.3 million this year and would have a cash fund deficit of $30.5 million by 2016. Once it starts operating in the red, the state would come in and take over the district.
“I want to really stress that these are just options at this point,” Powers said. “We have not made any firm decisions moving forward.”
The list of reduction options features six categories that encompass the district: Certificated personnel, administrative personnel, classified and support personnel, operational, cost avoidance, and supplemental programming options. The total approximate reduction of these options is $6 million.
Certificated personnel could mean a loss of teachers in the high school, middle school, and kindergarten. It may also mean a reduction of special education, foreign language, and special area teachers, school counselors, and media specialists. By making reductions in this area, the district could save $3.1 million.
Changes to administrative personnel could mean reductions in administrative personnel, administrative support personnel (clerical staff), the school psychologist, and the substitute caller, possibly saving $256,000.
Changes to classified and support personnel may mean cutting janitors, mechanics, secretaries, technology staff, and other positions. Bus drivers may also be affected by eliminating or minimizing K-12 bus routes. These potential reductions may save $705,000.
Operational cost reductions could include reviewing and revising rental fee schedules, reducing the cost of paper while increasing the use of technology, and combining the location of Saturday detentions. The estimated reduction could save $370,000.
Cost avoidance options may include student fees for workbooks, testing and technology, pay-to-play fees, minimizing busing (possibly eliminating busing to the high school), eliminating field trips (except for those funded by the student), and renegotiating employees’ wages and compensation, such as pay freezes and health care concessions. These options could save the district $1.5 million.
Finally, potential cuts to supplemental programming would possibly include eliminating Project Plus, a special needs program at , and a reduction in extended time for staff. Cutting those programs could save $50,000.
However, it’s not only reductions the district is looking at. It also showed several scenarios for future levies, including options of 4.9 mils ($4.2 million annually) and 6.9 mils ($5.9 million annually). These scenarios showed what the district’s finances would look like in a given year with certain reductions and levy options.
“We are facing some very serious financial challenges,” Board President Ron Stuver said at the Nov. 16 meeting. “It’s going to require some very difficult financial decisions.”
The goals of both the school board and administration were to be transparent with this entire process to the community and to get feedback from parents and residents. The district will hold two community forums to present these options and hear from residents on Dec. 6 and Jan. 11 in the R.B. Chamberlin auditorium.
Twinsburg Patch will begin a short series, taking a more in-depth look at each reduction category and what those possible changes could look like, leading up to the first community forum. We’ll keep you updated as this issue develops further.