Future of Reynoldsburg schools uncertain after levy fails
Reynoldsburg City Schools officials say the future is uncertain after voters rejected a 9.9-mil levy earlier this month.
After voters also rejected a 15.6-mil levy in May, the district's second attempt at new operating money, the board moved to cut $11 million from its budget.
Now, the district is looking at making further cuts.
The passage of this month's levy was crucial to the district continuing to run at its current capacity, Superintendent Steve Dackin said.
He said the district will reduce costs without affecting the academic quality of the district as best as possible.
"We have to find a business model that is sustainable," Dackin said.
The district finance committee met on Nov. 10 to determine recommendations for the future of the district.
Additional cuts being considered include reduction in teaching and support staff positions, salary freezes, realigning the district, reduction in course offerings, increase in class size, the possibility of closing some schools as well as a delay in opening the two new buildings slated to open in 2011-2012.
The district also plans to submit a request to the State of Ohio for a waiver making the district exempt from full-day Kindergarten, a new requirement from the state to be in effect by the 2011-2012 school year. The waiver would give the district an additional year to delay that process.
"Schools are about opportunities for students," District Treasurer Tammy Miller said. "When you don't have the resources, opportunities are not offered for students."
The last operating levy passed by Reynoldsburg voters was in 1997. While the district has tightened the budget, there are still additional cuts to be made due to decreases in state funding and personal property taxes and increases in cost of living expenses.
In the five-year forecast, approved in a special board meeting Oct. 29, the board made adjustments to cut an additional $4 million for fiscal year 2011.
"We have to reduce expenditures to balance the budget," Dackin said.
Schools are recommended to function with a cash balance of 60 to 90 days, Miller said.
"Reynoldsburg is down to five days," Miller said.
A concern for the district is the low cash balance available and the possibility of the cash balance remaining stagnant after January, when the district typically receives its revenue. A possibility for assistance if needed would be a temporary cash borrow that might help the district if needed, administrators say.
"We are all very concerned abut how low that cash balance is," Miller said.
All reductions would be effective for fiscal year 2011 with the exception of building budget cuts and the decision not to replace a receptionist position in the central office. No further action is scheduled to take place until after new board members take their seats in January.