Teachers and residents voiced their views Monday night when the administration for the Hilliard City School District rolled out an implementation timeline regarding nearly $11-million worth of cuts which will be necessary if a 6.9-mill operating levy does not pass in November.

Teachers and residents voiced their views Monday night when the administration for the Hilliard City School District rolled out an implementation timeline regarding nearly $11-million worth of cuts which will be necessary if a 6.9-mill operating levy does not pass in November.

"We have one opportunity to educate our kids," said Kris Reber, the parent of a second-grader and a fifth-grader and a committee member for Advocate, Collaborate, Teach (ACT) for Schools, as she countered comments being made by people opposing the levy in letters to the editor and in neighborhood e-mails.

The first of the cuts go into effect on Nov. 5, the day after the election, if the levy fails.

Eighty-four assistant coaching positions starting with the winter season will be cut, followed by freshman sports along with 36 coaching positions.

Both hinge on a resolution required by the school board.

All middle school sports will cease with the winter season, based on a board resolution.

Middle school and freshmen athletic field trips and middle school music field trips will end with the programs.

Board member Andy Teater said he has always been a supporter of sports, but it is tough to weigh it against 23 math and reading intervention positions which will also be cut.

Shuttles will no longer be available as of Nov. 5 if the voters fail to support the levy.

Assistant Superintendent Tim Hamilton said shuttles are short bus trips within the district, such as those made to Exchange City or the fire department.

On the first day back from winter break, on Jan. 5, more cuts will follow with the elimination of 10 third-shift custodians.

Hamilton said six custodians will be eliminated at the high school level, three at the middle school level and one at support services.

Evening, after-school and weekend building usage fees will increase to offset utilities, custodial work and other costs associated with the activities, according to Hamilton.

Assistant Superintendent Andy Riggle said stipends will be reduced by half after the first of the year.

Then on March 30, the day after spring break, busing for high school students, midday kindergarten students and daycare students will cease. Summer school will no longer be available, and with it transportation costs will be cut.

Most of the positions that will be cut under the reduction plan will begin with the start of the 2009-10 school year, because of a need for current contracts to expire.

Among those cuts will be an assistant superintendent, a central office director, a high school assistant principal, 23 reading and math intervention teachers, 18 media specialists, 10 high school teaching positions, 10 gifted teaching positions, 10 instructional technology teachers.

Some of the residents who spoke in favor of the levy said they have been hearing that the school board and administration are using scare tactics in order to get the levy passed.

Marty Bretz, former committee member with ACT for Schools, said people in the community have said in the past that the administration and board did not tell the public what kind of cuts were going to be made if a levy failed. Now the administration and board are telling the public precisely how much will be cut, and it is being perceived as a threat.

"I don't consider this a threat, I consider this the reality," he said.

Teater said they are not using the cuts in a threatening manner, instead they are responding to what the community wanted and being accountable.

"We are not in this boat by ourselves," said board member Doug Maggied.

He said school districts across the state are in financial crisis, but he is concerned about his own community.

"If you are aggravated sitting on your side," he said. "You ought to sit on this side of the table."

Board member Dave Lundregan agreed with Maggied.

As school board members, he said, they have to accept the responsibility for making the cuts, while knowing there is no way it cannot affect the children in the classroom.

As a Type A personality, he said, he likes to see things line up on paper.

"You look at cuts this size and priorities are thrown off the page," he said.

In the last few weeks as they have collected e-mails from residents with suggestions, board President Denise Bobbitt said, there is no consistency in what is being recommended. What is important to one person is not important to the next.

"As each of you communicated," said Superintendent Dale McVey, "this is real."

Teacher Jean Shackle said 21 years ago when she moved her family to Hilliard, she walked into Ridgewood Elementary to enroll her daughter and the principal asked her if she was registered voter because a school issue was appearing on the November ballot.

"I told him the house doesn't have a roof yet, but I would definitely vote yes the next time around," she said. "I've kept that promise every time since then, and I promise to do so this fall."