Even as the Westerville Board of Education approved eliminating 62 jobs Monday as part of a plan to cut $5 million from the district's budget before the end of the school year, Superintendent Dan Good raised the possibility of returning to the ballot in March.
Even as the Westerville Board of Education approved eliminating 62 jobs Monday as part of a plan to cut $5 million from the district’s budget before the end of the school year, Superintendent Dan Good raised the possibility of returning to the ballot in March.
The board was scheduled to meet at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 30, after ThisWeek’s press time, at the Westerville South High School commons, 303 S. Otterbein Ave., to again discuss cost-cutting measures made necessary by the Nov. 8 failure of a combined 4.06-mill property tax and 0.5-percent income tax request.
Good expected to unveil a report on Nov. 30 containing information on many of the programs that could be eliminated — including magnet schools and sports and other extracurriculars — along with how much each would save the district. He said the information likely would be posted on the district’s website in advance of the meeting.
The district will wait until next school year to cut funding for sports, all extracurricular activities and the district’s subject-based schools. The $5 million in savings to be phased in before this school year is over include rebidding the district’s insurance policies and seeking requests for bids to outsource services such as maintenance and human resources.
The 62 positions the board unanimously agreed to cut on Nov. 28 affect clerks, duty monitors, custodians and drivers.
Good said Nov. 28 that the board should consider returning to the ballot in March because that would give families time to weigh their options. He said many parents have said they are thinking of moving out of the district if programs such as the magnet schools are stopped.
To have an issue on the March ballot, the district would have to file a resolution with the board of elections by Dec. 7.
Since Issue 20 was rejected, district administrators have been spending the majority of their time looking for ways to bridge a $23-million budget gap, Good said.
Officials have been looking at every program and how each would be affected by cuts, he said. District officials participated in a conference call with officials from Boston Public Schools, which recently reduced its staff in an effort to balance its budget.
“Hopefully, we’ll learn from lessons they created,” Good said.
He said he has reached out to teachers and staff to consider contract changes but stressed the district is not in formal negotiations.
“I don’t think it’s any secret that we’re looking for some concessions,” he said.
Issue 20 would have raised taxes for residents by $124.34 per $100,000 in assessed property value annually, but even if it had been approved, district officials projected they would have had to make about $4 million in cuts each year for the next three years in order for the schools to stay solvent through fiscal year 2015.
The district has launched a “virtual suggestion box” at westerville.k12.oh.us.