Big cuts are on the way for the Big Walnut school district after its 7.5-mill, five-year operating levy was defeated on the May 4 ballot.

Big cuts are on the way for the Big Walnut school district after its 7.5-mill, five-year operating levy was defeated on the May 4 ballot.

The vote, according to unofficial results from the Delaware County Board of Elections, was 3,298 against and 3,170 in favor.

Because of budget woes, district officials had reduced the operating budget by $1.8-million for the 2009-2010 school year. They also have planned $1.6-million in more cuts for the 2010-2011 school year, including pay freezes, not filling open positions and increasing pay-to-play fees for sports, officials have said.

Since the levy failed, the district will make an additional $2.19-million in cuts to educational programs and will close Harrison Street Elementary School, school officials have said.

The failed levy will result in the following, according to the district officials: elimination of extended hours for library and counseling staff, higher pay-to-play sports fees with no family caps, elimination of high school marketing, consumer science, and industrial technologies programs, additional teaching staff reductions in physical education, music, art, guidance counseling, elementary school teachers, high school math and English positions, and additional administrative staff reductions, including clerical, custodial, transportation and special needs assistance.

The district passed a $30-million bond issue in November 2008, which funded the construction of the district's new elementary school and middle school. The elementary school, named General Rosecrans Elementary School, will open in the fall. The middle school is slated to open a year later.

The funds from the bond issue by law cannot be used for operating funds, district officials have said.