By Kelly Doran
Bethel-Tate Local Schools will be losing 14 staff members to make the $1 million necessary in cuts so the district will not be placed in fiscal caution.
When Bethel-Tate submitted a five-year forecast in October 2014 to the Ohio Department of Education, it was reviewed by the ODE because of considerable overspending in fiscal year 2016 and a negative cash balance in fiscal year 2017, Treasurer Julie Kamphaus said in a press release.
A fiscal consultant from the ODE came to Bethel-Tate in January and completed a financial analysis, which projected deficits greater than that shown in the forecast, Kamphaus said in the release.
The ODE asked that Bethel-Tate cut $1 million from the fiscal year 2016 budget, Kamphaus said.
“Please be aware that under the current fiscal caution guidelines your district could be placed in fiscal caution if your district fails to submit an acceptable proposal,” a letter from ODE states. The proposal is due May 4.
Superintendent Melissa Kircher and Kamphaus are planning the cuts. The district has made significant cuts before, but could not keep up with a loss in state revenues, stagnant tax revenues and increasing costs, Kamphaus said.
“It is difficult to cut $1 million from a $15 million budget. We regret that those cuts must include losses of our valued employees,” Kamphaus said in the release.
To cut $1 million, the district will lose eight teachers, four aides in various locations, one secretary and one food truck driver, Kircher said. There are also a few employees who have retired or resigned that the district is not planning to replace.
At the March 25 board meeting, parents in attendance expressed concern about what the district is going to do next, Kircher said.
The Board of Education may consider putting a levy on the ballot, but is waiting to finish balancing the budget, Kircher said.
The district has put four levies on the ballot since 2008 and all have failed, Kircher said in the release. When she began in 2011, Kircher tried to make gradual cuts.
Cuts in the past have included fine arts teachers, high school teachers and administration staff, Kircher said in the release. Transportation routes were cut by a third, and the food service staff and custodian staff have been reduced to the minimum.