The Northridge Board of Education is expected to make at least $283,000 in cuts -- which could include a reduction in staff -- at a special meeting on Monday, Nov. 24.

The Northridge Board of Education is expected to make at least $283,000 in cuts -- which could include a reduction in staff -- at a special meeting on Monday, Nov. 24.

As a result of a third consecutive failure at the ballot to generate operating dollars, the district needs to keep within its means by eliminating $283,000 from the budget, treasurer Felicia Drummey said Monday.

Voters defeated a 3.5-mill emergency operating levy earlier this month, and a proposed earned income tax issue failed in May and in November of last year.

Besides being unable to gain additional operating dollars, Drummey told school board members, the economic climate further compounds the district's financial problems. She anticipates the growing unemployment rate will mean a decrease in income tax collections locally.

"We'll see the effect of that in our tax collection," she said. "We're looking at declining revenue but our expenses continue to rise."

A few of those increased expenses include fuel and utility costs, Drummey said. She noted that the district isn't realizing as much of a savings as projected in utility costs from the closing of Hartford and Homer elementary schools.

In addition to possible staff reductions, she recommends the district eliminate some supplies, equipment and purchased services.

The board began looking at those reductions during an executive session last Monday and will continue those talks on Monday beginning at 6 p.m., again in executive session. Drummey said the executive sessions are warranted because the board is talking about staff contracts and land sales.

A public meeting will take place no sooner than 9 p.m. Monday. Action is expected to be taken during the public meeting.

Drummey recommends the budget cuts be made quickly.

Board president Larry Porter said staff cuts would need to be in place by the end of this month, since the teachers' contract requires a 30-day notice of a reduction in certified staff.

He pointed out that the board needs to consider cuts for the remainder of the 2008-09 year, as well as 2009-10.

Board member Lee Hatfield asked what would occur if the board didn't take corrective action.

Although the district isn't in fiscal watch or emergency, Drummey has been working with the Ohio Department of Education's fiscal advisory services. A report from them is expected Dec. 10.

"They're reluctant to put us on fiscal watch," Drummey said. "Once you're in that category, it's hard to get out."

A school district is put on fiscal watch if it shows an 8 percent deficit from the previous year's revenues, she said. A district is considered in fiscal emergency if it has a 15 percent deficit from the previous year's revenue. The state labels a district in fiscal caution if it doesn't submit a corrective action plan.

Drummey said the budget needs to be reprioritized in a way that will preserve instruction.

"We're looking to reconfigure different ways that are least detrimental to instruction," she told The Independent.

In board action last Monday, a sale of school-owned property from Hartford and Homer elementary schools was approved for public auction at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 13, at Hartford and at 1 p.m. the same day at Homer.

What property remains at the schools is fairly "well used" and "beat up," Drummey said.

Items to be auctioned include lunch tables, ladders, lawn and garden tools, sweepers, chalk boards, mixing bowls, drinking fountains, cash registers and school desks, among other items.

The board approved a contract with Chip Carpenter Auctioneer for the sale of the items on Dec. 13 and no more than eight hours total to pay employees $10 per hour during a sale preview on Dec. 12 and for pick up of items following the auction.

The board also approved supplemental contracts for coaches for 2008-09 and several classified and substitute contracts.

In other business, the board recognized Debra Sue Garrabrant with the Golden Viking Award for her dedication and performance to Northridge Food Services.

A presentation was also given to highlight the day-to-day activities at Northridge Intermediate School. The power point feature of the school is to be made available on the district's web site at: northridge.k12.oh.us.