Ohio's two-year state budget approved June 30 didn’t provide any surprises to the Avon Lake School District. The net result, a $4.4 million annual cut, is tin March.
That isn’t necessarily good news for Avon Lake. Superintendent Bob Scott had held onto a slim hope that the state wouldn’t approve such steep cuts for what is perceived to be a “rich district.”
“We’re hoping some sanity comes out of it,” Scott said in March.
Now Scott is saying with the budget in place the school will have 10.5 fewer teachers next year.
“Initially, we thought we needed six more teachers,” he said before the cuts were announced. “We hired none of those. After retirements, we’re just not hiring replacements. We’re only keeping three counselors at the high school.”
Longtime counselor LuAnn Shuster retired this year and will not be replaced.
Despite the cuts, there are no immediate plans for going to the taxpayers asking to approve a new levy.
“There’s no (levy) talk right now,” he said. “We know it will eventually happen but we want to push it off as long as possible.”
Scott said he expects that after years of belt tightening and watching spending, the district should weather the storm, but noted some items, like updating language arts books, will be put on hold.
“It’s one of our frustrations,” he said of the situation. “When we passed our last new-money levy in May 2006, we went on a mission of taking care of the dollars. “If something wasn’t giving us a bang for the buck we got rid of it.”
Scott noted the district managed to add new AP classes without expanding the staff.
Still, he expressed frustration at the situation.
“Last year came in with a $13 million surplus and thought we were doing well,” Scott said. “All of sudden that surplus is going to be gone.”
The situation is not yet dire.
“That ($13 million) balance has given us time, but there could be future slashes. The teachers helped a lot.”
Scott is hoping school personnel are included in future talks about the budget and Ohio school funding.
“Gov. Kasich mentioned yesterday that part of his piece was different funding for schools,” he said. “We just want to be involved.”