London school board cuts nearly $4 million from budget
18 teachers to lose their jobs
Posted on 1.12.11
Wednesday, January 12, 2011 11:40 AM
The Columbus Dispatch
Eighteen teachers will lose their jobs, many students will lose their bus routes and the program for gifted children will be axed in the London school district.
And that's just the beginning, after the school board voted Monday night to cut nearly $4 million from its budget for the next fiscal year.
Eight classrooms aides, a principal and a mechanic also will lose their jobs, athletes will pay more to play sports and the preschool program will see big changes, too.
Still, voters will have to be asked, most likely in November, to pay more taxes to prevent even deeper cuts, said board President Vici Geer.
STRIP-->"It is devastating," Geer said. "We live in a small town and we know these teachers, these parents and these students. It hurts."
Geer said that though a timeline is still being worked out, most of the $3.72 million in cuts and changes to programs in the district's $23.6 million budget won't happen until a new school year starts in August. To do it sooner would be too chaotic, she said.
The board made some cuts to its budget in September knowing that tough times were ahead, Geer said. But in October, when it studied the district treasurer's five-year projections, a $3 million deficit loomed immediately ahead.
The board was surprised by the size of the projected deficit and still hasn't received any answers as to why they didn't know about it before, Geer said. But they've had to focus instead on what to do about it quickly rather than dissect what happened.
Their answers to solve the problem came in Monday night's reductions. Negotiations are ongoing with the unions as to exactly who will lose their jobs, but the numbers shouldn't change, Geer said.
The board also is asking the unions to consider pay cuts and changes to insurance.
Geer said there hasn't been much reaction to Monday's vote, so far. She has received only one e-mail, and no parents spoke at the meeting. She said she even went grocery shopping in London Tuesday and no one stopped her to discuss it.
Inside the school buildings, though, things are a little more tense.
"It's never comfortable," she said. "There's a bit of turmoil, and it's emotional when people lose their jobs."
She said that despite the elimination of the program for gifted students and changes to the preschool program, the district is trying to keep the rest of its curriculum intact.
Course offerings won't be eliminated because of the teaching positions that are cut but, instead, class sizes will grow and individual attention to students will shrink, she said.
"We are keeping our AP courses, our college prep courses, our intervention classes," Geer said. "We wanted, as much as we could, to keep in place what we've worked so hard to build."
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