More than $9.6 million in savings will be realized over the next three years thanks to salary freezes and other concessions agreed upon by both Hilliard City Schools unions.

More than $9.6 million in savings will be realized over the next three years thanks to salary freezes and other concessions agreed upon by both Hilliard City Schools unions.

I am proud of our teachers and staff for stepping up and agreeing to what is a unique contract in central Ohio and perhaps all of Ohio.

Like yours, our budget is tight and it continues to get tighter. Realizing these difficult times, our teachers and staff members stepped up in the true spirit of shared sacrifice and did what was necessary to be part of the solution for the district's financial crisis. They have given up significant compensation and demonstrated true leadership.

We've worked hard in Hilliard City Schools to provide strong fiscal stewardship and value for our residents. In fact, our cuts and reductions, including the recent contract extension savings, now total to $19.3 million. I am proud of these efforts.

Our budget has always been a lean one, and the value our schools offer is tremendous. We are doing what it takes - but what we have done is only part of the solution. It is clear from the way that Ohio funds schools that it is up to the local communities to determine the quality of their schools. We simply cannot continue cutting without sacrificing the quality of education that we offer to our students and the value that we bring to our community as a whole.

While this $9.6 million is savings is significant and helps, it will not solve the overall financial challenges the district is facing. Revenue continues to decline and despite the total of $19.3 million in reductions over the last few years, we cannot simply cut our way out of the fiscal crisis facing our school district.

Over the summer months, the board will continue to discuss next steps. The failure of our levy, even with the cuts and reductions made, does not mean that the need has gone away. Rather, it means that the need to support our schools has become more dire and pressing.

I hope that you will continue to inform yourself and stay involved. We have a wonderful community, and as you can see from even these recent teacher and staff agreements, we have an outstanding Hilliard City School District that cares deeply about the quality of education we offer and the future stability of our schools.