Fairborn City Schools will cut 45 positions totaling $1.65 million next school year, according to a proposed financial recovery plan filed with the state this week.
The recovery plan, submitted to the Ohio Department of Education earlier this week, features two components — an 11.7-mill emergency operating levy on the May 7 ballot and the $1.65 million in staff reductions.
Fairborn’s deadline to submit the plan to the ODE was Thursday. The ODE placed Fairborn in fiscal caution Jan. 14 and gave the district two months to submit a proposal.
“We can’t just be on the ballot for new money,” Treasurer Eric Beavers said. “We had to come up with additional cuts. These are things we’ve tried to avoid at all costs. The things that are making a difference for student achievement and growth are now things we are forced to eliminate.”
The school board will vote on the staffing reductions at its April 11 meeting. They are: 22 teaching positions; 20 noon-duty aides; two assistants to principals; and an elementary secretarial position.
Notification letters were given to all affected employees March 8, while some of those positions will not be filled due to attrition, Beavers said. Those 45 positions will be eliminated regardless of the May levy outcome, he said.
If the May levy passes, it would generate $7 million annually for 10 years and cost an additional $358 a year for an owner of a $100,000 house. Voters rejected a 7.4-mill emergency levy in November.
“We need to pass the levy in May to cause the least amount of damage to the district,” said Tess Little, school board president. “The school has cut everything we have to cut. We can’t cut our way out of this. There is no way to fix this without passing a levy.”
Beavers said the district could be placed in fiscal watch by July 1 — with or without the levy passing. He said the district’s projected balance on June 30 is $22,000, and by June 30, 2014, the district is projected to have a $4.1 million deficit.
Beavers said Fairborn has cut just under $11 million since the 2003-04 school year.
“That’s why there’s not as many areas to cut anymore,” he said. “We’ve been in a constant cut mode to get to this point.”
If the May levy fails, pay-to-participate fees for middle school/high school sports and other extracurricular activities will increase next year to $500 per student, per sport with no family cap.
Currently, the high school fee is $150 per sport, with a $300 individual cap and $450 family cap. The middle school fee is $100 per sport, with a $200 individual cap and $300 family cap.
Beavers said no other cuts have been determined if the levy fails because of the “great uncertainty with the state budget at this point. If it gets tweaked in a negative way, it’d worsen our situation.”
According to preliminary data released Feb. 6, Fairborn could get an additional $409,910 next year and $645,907 the following year. But Beavers said three unfunded state mandates loom in the next two years — teacher evaluations and third grade reading guarantee next year, and online testing in 2014-15.
Fairborn has a $43 million annual operating budget and an enrollment of 4,347 students. The district received an “Effective” rating on its most recent state report card but has three schools rated “Excellent.”