Hilliard City Schools leaders will institute a hiring freeze, with special education as the only exception, after Gov. Mike DeWine on May 5 announced $775 million in budget cuts for the two-month remainder of the 2020 fiscal year, according to Stacie Raterman, director of communications for the district.

The budget cuts, necessary because of the state’s cratered economy after many businesses were ordered closed by DeWine to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, includes $300 million in basic state aid to Ohio’s more than 600 public school districts.

Ohio reduced Hilliard’s funding share by $3.1 million for the fiscal year that ends June 30, and it won’t end there, Superintendent John Marschhausen said.

“We are planning for future reductions from the state,” he said. “ We will reduce at least 20 (full-time equivalents) immediately.

“These reductions will be achieved mostly through reassignment of district employees.”

A full-time equivalent usually refers to a combination of part-time workers that equate to one full-time employee.

If a classroom position opens, a teacher on special assignment or an administrator would be placed in the class, Raterman said. In turn, the teacher on special assignment or administrative position would not be filled, she said.

The district also is working through a number of scenarios for the 2020-21 school year, treasurer Brian Wilson said.

“We are reducing building budgets by 20% for (the) next (academic) year,” Wilson said. “This is the first of many changes to next year’s budget as we attempt to deal with reductions in state funding.”