WADSWORTH — Wadsworth City Schools will trim $1.3 million from its 2009-10 budget to make up for revenue lost due to the poor economy.
The reductions, which the school board approved Monday night, mostly will affect items paid for out of the district’s $40 million general fund, such as technology, field trips and textbooks. There also is a supply freeze and capital expenditures have been halted, district Treasurer Doug Beeman said.
“We are attempting to keep these cuts as far away from students as possible … however, almost every penny we spend is affiliated with services to pupils, so there will be some impact at the student level,” Superintendent Dale Fortner said.
The cuts come midway through the schools’ July-to-June fiscal year, so there could be some fluctuations in the cuts, board member James McIlvaine said. For example, if a capital job is already contracted, it will be completed. But when the next budget is approved in June, recommended cuts will be included in the allocations, McIlvaine said.
Beeman said the board does not plan to cut teachers or other staff, but such cuts could be introduced if further reductions are needed.
“We do believe the most important thing in the classroom is not technology or a textbook, but the teacher,” Beeman said.
Purchased training for teachers will be eliminated during the school year, except for mandated training, McIlvaine said.
Technology also will be on hold. Typically, the school replaces about 250 computers out of 1,000 every year, but the district will take a hiatus from that this year. It also will not update any technology, Beeman said.
Like computers, textbooks will not be replaced this year. The district usually replaces a portion of the books every year by subject, Beeman said.
Field trips will be eliminated, but the board will be equitable. For example, he said, if one third-grade class went on a trip this fall, another third-grade class will be allowed to go in the spring. Any other trips will be canceled and no new trips will be planned, he said.
Like most school districts, Wadsworth is facing a loss of funds due to stagnant income tax revenue and a decline in state money. The district already cut $300,000 from its budget in January 2009.
In September, Beeman and Fortner presented information to the board that showed a 1 percent decrease in state funding, a loss of more than $200,000.
Hundreds of thousands of dollars were lost in investment income due to the drop in interest rates, Beeman said. In 2007, the district received more than $777,000 in interest income. In 2009, it dropped to an estimated $60,000, he said.
Income tax rates are also flat and are expected to grow by 1 percent in the next five years, he said.
“Our revenue is not keeping pace with our expenditures,” Beeman said. “We either need to pass a levy to increase revenue or make cuts.”
McIlvaine said the board is discussing another levy, which likely would be on the ballot sometime this year.
“We are looking at that option,” he said. “That’s why we made these cuts. The projections aren’t good for the economy and state funding.”
Contact Lisa Hlavinka at (330) 721-4048 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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