Throughout his campaign for passage of the district’s 8.3-mill operating levy, Delaware City Schools Superintendent Paul Craft warned voters that cuts would still be necessary even if the levy passed.
Now that the levy has passed, Craft is turning his attention to identifying those cuts. Instead of the $5 million in cost reductions the district had faced had the levy failed, the district now plans to shave several hundred thousand dollars from its budget over the next five years, Craft said.
The difference is such that the board can make the cuts “more deliberately” than they could have had the levy failed, Craft said.
“We will look at savings across the board, but nothing so deep that it changes the experience for the kids,” he said.
Without the levy funding, Craft said the district would have had to eliminate extra curricular activities, cut 62 staff positions, reduce bus services and make deeper budgetary cuts.
Now, the district will be looking for “incremental efficiencies” such as restructuring the copier contract and reducing projected utilities costs, Craft said.
“We’re only three years out from another deficit,” said Craft. “We don’t want to have to go back for an operating levy two years from now.”
Although the 8.3-mill levy is expected to generate $6 million for the district every year for five years, looming state budget decisions make Delaware City Schools’ financial future unclear.
“Depending how they structure (the funding formula), it could benefit us, hurt us or leave us relatively unchanged,” Craft said.
He expects to discuss the district’s updated five-year financial forecast at the next board meeting.