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SWCS outlines possible cuts
"This is just depressing," said South-Western City Schools Board of Education President Cathy Johnson after administrators outlined possible cuts at the April 27 meeting.
Deputy Superintendent Phil Warner explained the district has set up transition teams to look at areas where funding cuts need to be made. He said the cuts would not be necessary if voters approved Issue 15, the district's four-year 8.3-mill tax levy. He also clarified that the cuts are not final.
"No decisions have been made, we're just trying to be prepared," said Warner.
The operating levy would maintain current operations in the district, though $1.6 million in cuts are slated for the next school year.
The levy would cost the owner of a $100,000 home $22 per month or $264 a year. The owner of a $200,000 home would pay $44 each month or $528 a year.
Administrators say, if the levy fails, they would cut an additional $6.4 million from the budget, which would include eliminating high school busing, 60 positions, athletics and extracurricular activities.
The transition teams are reviewing other areas that would see decreased funding.
If the levy fails, the district would close Harrisburg Elementary School, which houses approximately 170 students. Most of the students would relocate to Darbydale Elementary. The transitions team reported Darbydale is about four classrooms short of housing all the Harrisburg students.
The district would review elementary boundaries and some students might end up at Alton Hall or Buckeye Woods. The transportation boundaries would also need review, as the children living in Harrisburg need transportation.
Kingston School closure
The district says without operating funds, the Kingston School will close. The school serves students with emotional and behavioral issues. They will continue to offer services to those students, though in a different building.
Classrooms at Kingston are broken up into units, which includes a maximum of 10 students. If Kingston were to close, the district could send elementary units to Monterey and East Franklin. One intermediate unit would go to Galloway Ridge. Two middle school units would relocate to Brookpark. Two high school units would transfer to Grove City and one would go to Central Crossing.
"The buildings will have to look different at night," said Warner. "People will be out and they would be dark."
Warner explained the district would save thousands in electricity and natural gas costs if they close the buildings after school.
"There are a tremendous number of people who use the buildings after school," Warner said.
He said the buildings would likely remain open for about an hour after students are let out for tutoring, detention and staff meetings. After that, it's lights out. This would also include district recreation centers.
"There are a lot of unanswered questions," said Warner. "We don't have answers on parent-teacher conferences, open houses or professional development. We do know programs will be cut."
Levy failure would also affect night school, OGT intervention and summer school.
Night school classes are currently held at Central Crossing, but could be moved to the Career Academy. The Career Academy would remain open in the evening with the adult education supervisor.
As high school busing would be eliminated, transportation to night school classes would also be cut. The transition team is looking at increasing night school class size.
The team is reviewing increased fees for OGT intervention and summer school. Both would cost $175 per student.
Superintendent Dr. Bill Wise said the transition teams are trying to keep services for the students.
"At the end of the day, there will be lost opportunities," said Wise.
In November, voters rejected a 9.69-mill combined operating levy and bond issue.
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