Sharp cuts to future staffing at Canal Winchester Schools should keep the district in the black through fiscal year 2012, according to the district's most recent five-year financial forecast.

Sharp cuts to future staffing at Canal Winchester Schools should keep the district in the black through fiscal year 2012, according to the district's most recent five-year financial forecast.

"This is survival mode," treasurer Joyce Boyer said Tuesday. "This is not necessarily the optimum educational program we would like to offer students. This is how we can survive."

The 2007 five-year forecast anticipated hiring 53.1 new teachers between fiscal years 2008 and 2012. The new forecast, however, budgets for only 17.5 new teachers over that same period, a reduction of 35.6 teachers.

Also, the district has cut the number of expected new classified staff members -- bus drivers, custodians, cafeteria workers -- from 41.5 to 15.5 between fiscal years 2008 and 2012.

The two additional administrative staff members the district expected to hire have been cut from the plans.

Like other districts, Boyer said the Canal Winchester district spends between 75 percent and 80 percent of its budget on staff costs.

"If we're not having as much staff," she said, "that's why there is a substantial difference in expenditures."

The five-year forecast prepared in 2007 showed the district expected a $780,247 fund balance in fiscal 2008, with anticipated deficits of $3.5-million in 2009; $8.4-million in 2010; $14.1-million in 2011; and $21.7-million in 2012.

After staff and program reductions, the new forecast shows an anticipated balance of $3.02-million fiscal year 2008 and roughly $2.7-million in each year from 2009 through 2012.

Boyer said the district's general fund expenditures are around $2.6-million per month.

She noted that the staff reductions will make classrooms more crowded.

"The numbers of teachers we are saying we need to hire in future years has been greatly reduced, which will cause the teacher-student ratio to increase substantially," she said.

While the most recent forecast is based on an expectation that new students will continue rushing into Canal Winchester Schools, the pace may be slowing. Boyer said the economy is affecting enrollment.

"The downturn in the market has had an impact on district," Boyer said. "The market has slowed down. People aren't buying houses as rapidly as two years ago."

The 2007 five-year financial forecast showed anticipated enrollment increases from fiscal year 2008 through 2012 of 241, 220, 243, 238, and 239 new students, respectively.

The new forecast during the same time period, estimates enrollment increases of 188, 205, 229, 211 and 193 new students in each of those years, respectively.

The five-year financial forecast is a planning document created by districts annually. Because it looks at several years, Boyer noted that the projections are "educated assumptions" based on current information.