Projected state funding decreases have forced the Delaware City School Board to slash its budget by $2.5 million, which means cutting as many as 16 teachers and about 14 other positions.
City Schools Superintendent Paul Craft presented a lengthy list of cuts totaling $1.78 million, which comes as all Ohio school districts are anticipating major cuts in state funding when Gov. John Kasich unveils his state budget today.
“We really hoped to do all position cuts through attrition,” Craft told the board. “It just doesn’t look possible with the size of cut we have to make.”
Board member Frances O’Flaherty was concerned about the number of teaching positions being cut and suggested that extracurricular and cocurricular activities be eliminated district wide, which would amount to about the same amount of savings.
“I think that’s extensive,” said O’Flaherty of the teacher cuts. “It will increase the class size too much. If you cut teachers, you affect every single student. Not all students are involved in extracurriculars.”
O’Flaherty moved to table the vote on the teacher cuts, but the motion failed for lack of a second. Ultimately, the board voted to go with Craft’s recommendations without modifications. The cuts passed with the board voting 4 to 1 with O’Flaherty voting against the measure.
District Treasurer Christine Blue was part of state-level discussions examining different scenarios in which school districts would receive decreases in state funding. The highest cut from the three scenarios was a 24.4-percent cut, the lowest, a 21.4-percent decrease, all causing Delaware to cut millions from its budget.
Blue said that Ohio districts are classified by seven levels of wealth with one being the poorest and seven being the wealthiest. Delaware rates as a six on that scale, she said.
Classified and certified staff reductions, totaling more than $1.5 million, include:
• One guidance counselor ($96,030)
• One gifted teacher ($80,000)
• One building level administrator ($100,000)
• Hayes High School career-based intervention teacher ($51,500)
• One intervention services special education teacher ($51,500)
• 10 additional certified teachers ($780,000)
• Reducing the level and length of contract for the pupil personnel director to a lower administrative position and contracted time from 260 days to 225 days. ($25,000)
• Reducing extended days by 50 percent for guidance counselors, educational technology or literacy coaches. ($85,700)
• One maintenance position ($64,700)
• One custodial position ($28,800)
• Two secondary library aides ($44,500)
• Three elementary noon-time supervisors ($3,000)
• Two special education aide positions ($50,000)
• Two and a half building secretaries (reducing each building to have one full-time and one half-time secretary. ($74,200)
Among the other cost reductions were:
• Changing kindergarten to an alternating full-day program where groups would alternate every other Monday and also either attend Tuesdays and Thursdays and Wednesdays and Fridays, saving on eliminating noon-time transportation. ($105,000)
• Limiting extracurricular and cocurricular trips to a 50-mile radius. ($18,000)
• Reducing academic and cocurricular field trips by 50 percent. ($40,000)
• Eliminating German One at Hayes High School. ($51,500)
The district will also establish a pay-to-play fee for extracurricular and cocurricular participation for $35 at the high school and $25 middle school, raising $35,000.
Other cost reductions discussed, but not included in the voted measure included reducing busing to state-minimum standards; eliminating extracurricular and cocurricular activities district wide; instituting furlough days; and putting a step freeze and one-percent salary reduction in for all staff members.
Before Monday’s meeting, the district already cut its discretionary budgets by 7 percent saving $314,000; cut a literacy coach position, $73,200; an Educational Service Center of Ohio contracted position at Woodward, $69,500; eliminated Latin at Hayes High School, $54,700. The district also used $125,000 over four years from the tax abatement fund to help balance its originally projected $1.4 million deficit.