By DAVID GREEN
Fayette Board of Education members approved Monday a list of cuts for the 2011-12 school year totaling nearly $352,000, but that’s only only a partial fix to the projected $566,300 drop in revenue.
Superintendent of schools Russell Griggs told the board that a two-year projection shows a drop in revenue of up to $900,000. If the board can maintain the level of cuts for two years, about $700,000 of the losses could be covered. The district would still be forced to dip into its savings to cover the shortfall.
“We need to make drastic changes in our operation,” Griggs said when presenting his list of cuts, and he urged the board to act soon to avoid a deficit situation.
The tax equivalent of the shortfall is more than 12 mills, Griggs said, but he doesn’t see this as a time to ask district residents to pay more. Besides, an existing seven-mill levy expires next year and needs to be renewed or replaced.
The district’s income tax revenue is also declining.
District treasurer Kelly Bentley cautioned board members about media reports showing increases in state aid. There’s actually a combination of increases and decreases, she said, leaving Fayette with an eight percent drop in state revenue. The decline is equal to $449 per pupil over a two-year period.
“Nothing that I see is increasing,” Bentley said about the districts sources of revenue.
State and local projections shows a decline in property tax and income tax revenue; large reductions in the tangible personal property tax until it is phased out for the 2013 fiscal year; and the end of federal “stimulus funds” through the school stabilization program and the education jobs program. Add to that the deficit spending of $339,700 already in place for the current school year.
CUTS—Cuts for the next school year include the elimination of two elementary school teaching jobs and one special education teacher.
Reductions include changes in the librarian and technology positions. A vocational teacher, music teacher and one other high school teacher would go to half time. A change in the copy machine lease would save $11,000.
Supt. Griggs’s position would shrink from the current 0.5 full time equivalent to 0.2.
Any increase in unemployment costs will reduce the savings from the cuts approved by the board.
Griggs said he hears suggestions about cutting athletics, transportation and food service, but he doesn’t see that as a good approach. The district already operates its transportation service as the third most efficient in the state.
If athletics were eliminated, several students would transfer to other districts. The loss in revenue from fewer students would likely be higher than the savings in athletic costs, Griggs said.
He’s also taken food service out of the list of possible cuts because no general fund money is used to support the service, and the cafeteria fund remains healthy.
Griggs and Bentley continue to look for possible cuts, he said, but those three area will not be considered.
SPECIAL SERVICES—Griggs noted that Fayette has one of the highest percentage of special needs children in the four-county area. Special education costs top $800,000 annually.
CALENDAR—The approved a revised school calendar that places the final day for students on June 2.
NHS—The requirement for joining the National Honor Society will return to a 3.5 GPA, as it was prior to 2000 when the threshold was lowered to 3.25. The change will take effect with the class of 2015.
TECHNOLOGY—Technology coordinator Becky Short gave her final report to the board. She will begin a new job with the Northwest Ohio Education Service Center. Short will continue to help Fayette for some tasks, but most of her duties will be delegated to other staff members.
DONATIONS—The board accepted an anonymous donation of $95 to pay for a substitute teacher during the senior trip and $500 from the Fayette Area Foundation for band equipment.
CONTRACTS—Two-year limited contracts were approved for Kelly Barkhimer, Sarah Weiland and Marilyn Kinsman. A continuing contract was approved for Pamela Wise and a one-year contract for Lisa Hintz.
TRIPS—The senior trip to Florida was changed to include on overnight stay in Detroit at the start of the trip. The board approved a request for a girls basketball camp trip to the University of North Carolina June 25-July 3.
COACHES—The board approved the following coaching assignments for the next school year: one-year contracts for Bryan Stambaugh, cross country; Matt Maginn, assistant cross country; Alissa Stockburger, varsity/JV volleyball; Todd Mitchell, assistant golf; Matt Maginn, JV boys basketball; and Alissa Stockburger, varsity cheerleading.
Three year contracts were approved for Ryan Colegrove, golf, and Todd Mitchell, varsity boys basketball.